REVIEW: I LOVE YOU, MAN

 

CAST

Paul Rudd (Ant-Man)
Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother)
Rashida Jones (The Social Network)
Sarah Burns (Life As We Know it)
Jaime Pressly (Mom)
Jon Favreau (Iron man)
Jane Curtin (3rd Rock From The Sun)
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Andy Samberg (Hot Rod)
Mather Zickel (Bones)
Carla Gallo (Superbad)
Joe Lo Truglio (Pineapple Express)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Nelson Franklin (New Girl)
Melissa Rauch (The Big Bang Theory)
David Krumholtz (Serenity)
Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk)
Aziz Ansari (30 Minutes or Less)
Nick Kroll (Sausage Party)
Carla Gallo (Bones)
Matt Walsh (Ted)

I LOVE YOU MANPaul Rudd stars as Peter Klaven, a Los Angeles real estate agent who, in the film’s first scene, proposes marriage to the lovely Zooey (Rashida Jones, Cop Out). Zooey immediately goes about stocking her bridesmaids from a large stable of girl friends (including lovably dirty Jaime Pressly and Sarah Burns), but is a little thrown when Peter has no one to tell. His family explains: he’s always been “a girlfriend guy,” a serial monogamist who shed his guy friends along the way. Afraid of becoming too clingy and fearing a lop-sided wedding party, Peter sets out to make some guy friends (going on a series of disastrous “man dates”) before settling on the guy who just could be “the one” (to be his best man, that is): Sidney Fife (Jason Segal), a laid-back Venice “investor” whose devil-may-care attitude (and passion for the band Rush) makes him a good fit for uptight Peter.MV5BNjczNjAzNjgwOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODQzMTUzMg@@._V1_Director Hamburg (Along Came Polly), who shares a screenplay credit with Larry Levin, is rather sly in his construction of Peter and Sidney’s story; the picture cleverly repurposes the standard scenes and conflicts of the modern romantic comedy, from the “meet cute” to the “getting to know you” montage to the third party that may very well break them up (in this case, Jones’ Zooey). The semi-love affairs between straight, immature men is the thread that seems to run constant between most of these films; Hamburg and Levin’s script shrewdly and wittily takes that subtext and puts it out front. It is then fleshed out by the standard Apatow-style ingredients: cheerful vulgarity, good-natured charm, off-the-wall pop culture references (Chocolat and Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium get name-checked), and a heaping helping of the comedy of awkwardness.I LOVE YOU MANRudd’s goofily handsome charisma is one of the film’s greatest weapons; the wedding proposal that opens the film is winning and sweet, and gets us on his side right away. Segal’s delivery and effortless likability pairs them up nicely, and his engagement party toast is uproariously inappropriate. Jones is charmingly unflappable; most of her notable work to date has been on television, but she clearly has the chops to carry a film. Her role could have easily been overplayed as a paranoid shrew or underplayed as an empty ingénue; Jones strikes just the right balance. You can see why Peter fell for her, and how he might be losing her.Hamburg was also wise enough to surround his leads with a full staff of comic utility players: Pressly, Burns, Andy Samberg, J.K. Simmons, Jane Curtain, Jon Favreau, Thomas Lennon, Larry Wilmore, and Aziz Ansari all show up, coming off the bench to grab laughs, sometimes in as little as a scene or two. Favreau and Pressly fare best, she as Zooey’s best friend, he as her husband, who openly loathes Peter.