By Dave Campbell | March 19, 2009
Director: John Hamburg
Writer(s): John Hamburg
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, J.K. Simmons, Jamie Pressly, Andy Samberg, Jon Favreau, Jane Curtin
Real estate agent Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) is the “perfect” fiancé according to Zooey (Rashida Jones) and her group of BFFs. The only problem is that he spent so much time with his girlfriends throughout his life that he never really maintained any “bro-lationships” with any male friends. One evening Peter unexpectedly comes home early during “girl’s night” at their place, and overhears Zooey and her friends talking about the negatives to being in a relationship with a man who doesn’t have guy friends. This drives him into pursuing man-dates in order to find a friend and possible Best Man for their upcoming wedding. After several hilarious yet failed attempts at landing a friend, along comes Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) who crashes Peter’s open house for client Lou Ferrigno and soon becomes his inseparable pal. Several uncomfortable yet extremely comical situations ensue and throw Peter and Zooey’s relationship into disarray, causing Peter to make some tough decisions.
Paul Rudd is a delight. Usually cast as a solid supporting guy, Rudd has mostly been seen in Judd Apatow related comic-faire over the last few years. Well…consider this as his major launching pad for comedic lead roles. Rudd heads the non-stop hilarious tone of this highly effective comedy. He possesses a sarcastic nice guy sincerity that is unmatched by anyone currently in the biz. His ability to create genuine chemistry with each character in the film is impressive. His awkward greetings, goodbyes, and simple socialization with other males in the film are priceless. Flat out, he is one funny little man.
If you’re not already a Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) fan, you will become one after this experience. He adds a great balance to the picture by being able to exhibit the full range of Sydney’s character. He captures us in the philosophy of Sydney when he first appears in Peter’s “open house” scene making it hard for the audience not to become fast friends with him. Segel presents us with that guy you love to hang out with but are afraid to bring around your parents due to the fact that he can go from a soft, easy going guy to obnoxious, loud, and abrasive in .05 seconds…but in the funny kind of way.
The ensemble cast all deserves their due credit as well. Rashida Jones is lovely and sharp in her various on screen moments, it’s just a shame there wasn’t more of them. Jamie Pressly and Jon Favreau teamed up nicely as Denise & Barry, the dysfunctional married couple who are friends of Zooey’s. Andy Samberg plays Robbie Klaven, the ultra manly and gay brother of Peter. He doesn’t play the stereotypical “gay man” role that has been exploited and run into the ground. It’s refreshing and fitting for the dynamic. Jane Curtin & J.K. Simmons play Joyce & Oswald Klaven, the parents of Peter & Robbie. They really have the parent roles locked in and bring depth to the character of Peter who drives the film. Also look for great little parts where Thomas Lennon (the State/Reno 911!) & Rob Huebel (Human Giant) lend their comedic talent in supportive efforts.
Even though Apatow is not involved, the film falls in the same category of his recent directorial and produced works. The entire cast was very rich in talent but I have to say that the female cast was not utilized as much as they should have been. I also had some issues with some fairly rough edits and continuity. Aside from those small complaints I Love You, Man is a hilarious well written modern comedy full of great improvised moments. Sure it has a predictable storyline, but it is also very smart, charming, and satisfying while bringing continuous laughs from beginning to end.