MOVIE REVIEW: I Love You, Man

Here’s something that’s true; I can be a bit of a movie snob. I tend to go to movies that I expect to be good. Oscar-nominated films, films acclaimed at a film festival, and so on. Every once in a while – a GREAT while, given the more limited opportunities – I’ll go to see more popular fare.

Carol’s and my first night in Saratoga last week, we went to the Wilton Mall. I’d never been to the Wilton Mall before; it was mallish. Mallesque? One of the presents we got from one of my brothers-in-law for Christmas was a packet of tickets to any Regal Theater. This turned out to be our first opportunity to use them.

We had gotten there about 20 minutes before the film was scheduled to start, and bought popcorn. This was far inferior to the great popcorn I’m used to from the Spectrum Theatre in Albany. We were “entertained” by a package of “behind the scenes” pieces – one was for “Angels and Demons” the sequel to The da Vinci Code and again starring Tom Hanks. The segment was peppered with commercials: food commercials, car commercials, commercials for the U.S. Army.

Then it was the appointed moment. Time for…previews, the standard fare.

O.K., FINALLY, the actual movie. We’d heard some decent comments about the new evidently raunchy comedy I Love You, Man. It stars Paul Rudd, who we liked from The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, as a man named Peter, a real estate guy who early on becomes engaged to his girlfriend Zooey (Rashida Jones from Parks and Recreation, and The Office). The problem is that he doesn’t have any male friends, a real issue for Zooey’s friends.

Paul gets advice from his gay brother (Andy Samburg from Saturday Night Live) on how to meet straight men. But it is on his own that he meets Sydney (Jason Segel), a usually honest fellow – sometimes too much so, and they hit it off over a shared passion.

A movie like I Love You, Man can either work or not, depending on the writing and acting. I’m disinclined to over analyze it, except that it was less coarse than the last two Rudd movies I saw.

The verdict: while it has its flaws, including supporting characters that arrive but seem to get lost along the way and a joke or two that go on too long, I laughed, quite a bit actually. Ultimately, that’s all I really want in a comedy. My favorite joke, not a big ha-ha, but a knowing one took about an hour to set up. It’s a rather simple premise, but it worked for my wife and me, mostly because of the performances of Rudd and Segel.
***
Not used in the movie, thank goodness, was the term bromance, though the commentator here used it to describe this movie. I happen to dislike the term intensely, though I can’t explain exactly why. Maybe because it seems want to have it both ways: a teasing, somewhat homophobic way to show show how non-homophobic straight guys can be.
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