A Review By Jason L. King
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segal
Directed by: John Hamburg
Rated: R for pervasive language, including crude and sexual references.
Movie Released: 2009
For some people, making friends is hard. Some people have the gift to walk into a room, and own the room. They put on their show, do their little song and dance, and by the end of the night, everyone loves the person. Finding and making new friends is never hard for this person. They are just a likable guy or gal.
On the flip side there is the guy that just can’t do that no matter what they do. The more that they try to be cool and suave to win people over, the more they look like an awkward idiot. They stand back and let the more suave people win over new friends, and they stand in the corner, hoping to be absorbed into the conversation. The end result, is they sometimes leave the social functions with less friends than they came in with.
The later of the two people is the unfortunate tale of Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) in the comedy to hit DVD shelves, I love You Man. Despite all of his best efforts, Peter has always been a bit awkward when it came to making friends. All of his friends are girls and friends of his girlfriends. He could unfortunately could list off his best guy friends on one hand, and do so without lifting a finger. So when Peter has met the girl of his dreams and is ready to tie the knot, he sets out on a quest to find a new best friend. Along the way he meets Sidney (Jason Segal), who despite being the polar opposite of Peter just might be the best friend Peter has always wanted. The problem becomes, Sidney just may not be the new best friend Peter’s fiance had envisioned for him.
As a reviewer I am struggling with my feelings on this film. The film has some very funny parts in it. Jason Segal’s character is really charismatic, and is a lot of fun to watch on screen. Despite Peter being an utter idiot, the Sidney character always takes it in stride and just enjoys the company of his new found friend. On the flip side, Paul Rudd plays awkward a little too well. There were many scenes that you felt so embarrassed for him that it was a hard film to watch. Sure, those scenes pop up a lot in films, but I really felt the writers went out of their way to make Peter a bit too awkward. You just felt sorry for him many times and wished that it was over.
What I really did enjoy about this film is the story has got a good message behind it. The idea that you are never too old to make a new best friend, and that friends come in all shapes and sizes is something I think a lot people forget. Sidney and Peter looked like an unlikely pair of friends, but they actually suited each other quite well, so I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover. Despite being a bit too awkward you do really like Peter, but that should come as no surprise. After all, Paul Rudd plays the nice guy quite well. I also enjoyed the side story of selling Lou Ferrigno’s mansion. It made for some funny little side jokes that kept the film moving along.
What I really didn’t enjoy about this film was that it felt like it wanted to be a Judd Apatow film that just didn’t cut it. Apatow has won people over with films like 40 Year old Virgin, Knocked Up, Walk Hard and Pinapple Express, and I love You Man tried to sneak its way into that list without having Apatow’s name on it. Problem was, the film just didn’t have that Apatow charm that the other films have all had. It comes close, but no cigar. As much as I laughed at the scenes where Segal is fighting Lou Ferrigno and even mentioned the fact that the side story with Ferrigno is fun, I feel like it was slightly forced. It seems to have become the new cool thing to find some old pop culture reference and throw them into your comedy for cultural references. We’ve seen it this year in I Love You Man, and in Hangover (a la Mike Tyson) and I am sure that it will not be the last time we will see it this year. I’m just not sure if I like that idea or find it distracting. On one hand it is funny to see these pop culture icons show up and poke fun at themselves. On the other hand, I really don’t see the need and don’t think those jokes will really hold up in years to come.
the film held a strong R rating and I really wonder if that rating was needed at all. I feel like the producers just felt like they had to make an R rated comedy to draw the crowds in, and I think they could have toned down things a bit and pulled off a PG-13 without doing any major damage to the film. Personally I could have done with out Sidney’s masturbation station and the endless talk about it, and we could have cleaned up a few naughty words and got a friendlier comedy. Don’t get me wrong, the film works as an R rated film. The writers work in the R content well, however I just don’t know if it was needed at all in the first place. In other words, it didn’t hurt the film, but I question if it enhanced it either.
The big question you want to know is will this rental help cure my case of box office boredom? The answer is yes. The R rated comedy genre keeps kicking out product for their audience, and although I Love You Man isn’t top of the line, it is quite entertaining. Pick it up as a rental at a store near you, pop some popcorn and pop I Love You Man in the DVD player.