There is nothing truly original left out there to write about. As a result of that, all movies generally follow certain well-used formulas, but every once in awhile someone manages to put a fresh spin on those old formulas; “I Love You, Man” is one of those movies.
“I Love You, Man” is the story of Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd: “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”), a quiet kind of dull real estate salesman who has just gotten engaged to his girlfriend of less than a year, Zooey (Rashida Jones: “The Office”). Outside of Zooey and his mother (Jane Curtain: “3rd Rock From The Sun”), Peter really doesn't have any friends. He has co-workers, and the guys he fences with, but no one he considers a close friend, and certainly no close guy friends.
Coming home early one night he discovers Zooey and her friends (Including Jaime Pressly: “My Name is Earl”, “Ringmaster”) talking about his apparent lack of friends, and their concerns that there will be no one standing on his side at the wedding. This sets Peter on a quest to make some male friends, and ultimately find a best man.
With the help of his mother, his gay brother Robby (Adam Samberg: “Hot Rod”, “Saturday Night Live”), the Internet, and Zooey's friends, Peter goes on a series of disastrous man-dates, the results of which include him trying to keep his “date” from starting a soccer riot, playing backgammon with a senior citizen, and even getting tongue kissed.
When he's about to give up, Sidney Fife (Jason Segel: “How I Met Your Mother”, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall”) walks into his life. While holding an open house at Lou Ferrigno's house (yes, that Lou Ferrigno) , Sidney quickly shows a great ability to read people, and a frank honesty that Peter finds intriguing. The two guys hit it off, trade business cards, and eventually end up on a man-date of their own.
Peter quickly discovers that Sidney is nearly the polar opposite of him. Sidney is slobby, open, honest, relaxed, and does pretty much whatever he pleases. Sidney takes Peter under his wing, and teaches how to be a bro. The pair of them get so close that Zooey soon starts to become jealous of their friendship. Can Peter keep his new best friend and his fiance?
This movie is a nice twist on a standard romantic comedy formula. This is a relatively fresh spin on the formula from films like “The 40 Year Old Virgin” where the shy not-quite-a-loser guy is forced by his friends/family into a montage of horribly awkward dates in an attempt to find love. In “I Love You, Man”, Peter already has love, but it's the friends he needs. Knowing the formula doesn't matter though, as there are few plot twists to be found here, just plenty of laughs.
The comedy of this film is a combination of awkward cringe humour (More of the dude-just-talked-about-oral-sex-in-front-if-my-parents variety than the Ricky Gervais-style awkward-around-other-people variety), bawdy guy humour, and just a dash of gross-out humour. All of these styles blend together to create a film so funny that it is hard to hear the dialog over the laughter at certain points.
Aside from the main cast, there is a wonderful assortment of cameos and bit characters to watch out for. Jon Favreau, J.K Simmons, Thomas Lennon, Larry Wilmore, and of course Lou Ferrigno all make appearance. I'm sure there are others that I did not get, and, with the exception of Ferrigno, these parts could have been played by unknowns, however they do all add a little extra flavour to the film.
I would have to say that the humour in this film definitely skews towards men, but that doesn't mean that women won't enjoy it too (my wife certainly did). This is probably not a first date movie (and certainly not one for the kids), as there is not only heavy discussion of relationships, but also a lot of profane language and explicit discussions of sex (with and without partners). Then again, if that sounds like good first date material to you, knock yourself out.
This is easily the best comedy I've seen this year so far (to be fair, it's only up against “Fired Up!”), but I would also put it up alongside my favourite comedies of last year (“Sex Drive”, and “Yes Man”). If you want to laugh long and hard, then I heartily recommend that you go make friends with “I Love You, Man” when it hits theaters on March 20.
Check out ”Mallville – A Journal of the Zombie Apocalypse”, my free ongoing blognovel.