I Love You, Man Review: The Ultimate Bromance

April 15, 2009 by  
Filed under - Home, Film Reviews

I LOVE YOU, MAN: On general release from Friday 17th April 2009

Paul Rudd’s sexy veneer is wearing pretty thin these days.

Since his 1995 appearance as intelligent hottie Josh in Clueless, he has gone from comic hero in Anchorman and Knocked Up, to pathetic sap in Role Models and (I’m sorry to say) he continues this sterotype in I Love You, Man.

Although I enjoyed this movie more than Role Models, the script did have it’s definite weak spots (the incessant “slappa da bass” joke being the biggest of them) with Rudd’s character working the cringeworthy angle.

At times I felt an overwhelming sense of pity for him, as most of the laughs came from the supporting “character” actors such as Jason Segel or Jaime Pressly (most recognisable as white trash wonderwoman Joy from My Name Is Earl). I yearned for a Brian Fantana “Sex Panther” moment that would have me weeping tears of glee into my notepad, but the KBL (killer belly laugh) remained a shadowy enigma.

Property Developer Peter Klaven is not the kind of guy you’d want to marry. In fact, he’s the kind of guy you’d imagine running off with the smarmy Puerto Rican gardener three years into a sham marriage. He claims that growing up he “chose to focus on his relationships” (what kind of guys do that? They may focus on football or computer games but hardly on “relationships”), and in doing so all his “dude friends fell by the wayside” and his mum became his best friend. What an uber drip. After proposing to girlfriend Zooey (shocker: she actually accepts), it becomes increasingly clear that Peter has no one to fill the role of best man. Peter seeks advice from gay brother Robbie who educates him in the act of the platonic man-date. After a series of bullies and Elmo-impersonators, Peter meets Sydney at an “open house” for former Hulk actor Lou Ferrigno, and they bond over the telltale signs of public farting.

The “making friends” subject matter automatically casts the audience back to the clumsiness of childhood and the first date. We can all sympathise with Peter’s awkward, fumbling first phonecall (albeit to a potential love interest rather than a new friend). It is the relationship comparison which makes the tension work; during Peter’s continuous struggle to play it cool in Sydney’s presence, his mouth runs away with itself, dropping in random geeky catchphrases, for example, in place of “totally” he (worringly) says “Totes ma goats”.

The over-arching theme of the film inevitably rings true - “There are no rules for male friendships” but perhaps these boys will set a new standard. One of the more enduring stereotypes is for groups of men to put each other down or challenge each other’s masculinity, whereas Peter and Sydney’s bond is so much more positive. However, I will always prefer this portrayal of the beauty of guy love. If more men indulged in public displays of affection, the world would be a much better place.

Free hug anyone?

Sally McIlhone

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