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The Statesman

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The Statesman

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    Seriously, I Love You Man?

    Who says boys can’t love each other? That’s the question “bromantic” comedies of the past few years’ and this year’s “I Love You, Man” ask and, in degrees, answer — they are filled to the brim with ribald, real-life sensibility and maybe a few too many gross-out moments. The answer this time around seems to be, “All you need is love, and the kind of humor that might alienate your grandmother.”

    Here, director John Hamburg creates Peter Klaven, played by comic everyman Paul Rudd, a regular guy in love with and about to marry his girlfriend Zooey, played by Rashida Jones. Peter’s got a good life — he’s mature, grounded, and committed, with a good job and a loving family. He also happens to be what the movie terms a “girlfriend guy,” a guy who is always focused more on his relationships with women than with men. In short, he may or may not just be a girl’s dream date.

    That seemingly wonderful characteristic throws a wrench into Peter and Zooey’s wedding plans when they find his lack of male friends makes for a lack of a best man. That concern is captured perfectly in the moment Peter admits to himself, “I need some f—king friends.” What follows is a series of hilariously awkward man-dates that don’t lead him anywhere other than into the proverbial arms of best-man-to-be Sydney Fife. And the rest, as they say, is history.

    “I Love You, Man” is yet another film that owes its spirit and voice to Judd Apatow. Its sense of humor comes out of improvisation, a love for the bawdy and subversive, and is mixed with a real sentimentality that makes for more than a few moments that tug at the heartstrings.

    With this film in particular, the audience is given a formula-driven romantic comedy whose premise is gently twisted to apply to the idea of guy love. Guy love, as the film reveals, is the kind of deep friendship guys don’t typically share. So here, it’s not boy-meets-girl. It’s boy-meets-boy.

    Of course, by the time Peter meets Sydney, the course of the rest of the film is perfectly mapped out and predictable. You have the first date, the first fight, the break-up, the make-up, and the dash to the altar. The ride never gets boring, though. Every character has great chemistry on screen with their counterparts, and even at its most awkward, the viewer rarely feels left out of the joke.

    At the heart of the movie is the relationship between Paul Rudd’s and Jason Segel’s characters, which is made believable by the very relatable plight of a guy having trouble making friends when he’s still learning how to. Rudd’s performance as the straight man and Segel’s antics are full of honesty and capture the intent of the entire film — that is, to show human, and therefore flawed, relationships.

    Attention should also be paid to Rashida Jones and her fellow actresses, Jaime Pressly and Sarah Burns. They, along with Andy Samberg’s rather restrained turn as Peter’s younger and gayer brother Robbie, offer the conceptual backbone for the entire picture, as those who are comfortable with their sexuality (heterosexual and homosexual) and are capable of finding deep, meaningful relationships with the same sex. They effectively make it alrright for Peter to eventually love Sydney and alright for the audience to give in and go “Awww!” when they admit their love for each other.

    “I Love You, Man” makes for a great movie, even with its flaws. If it has anything to say on a deeper level, it would be that we all need each other. Still, if you watch it simply for a laugh, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. (4/5 Stars)

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