Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tom Sawyer in the Limelight - A Review of I Love You, Man

Saturday night, we went to some friends' house for dinner and a movie. After some after some highly edible food, we headed into the living room for a viewing of I Love You, Man, featuring Paul Rudd, Rashida Jones (The Office), and Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall.)

While this film was not associated with Judd Apatow in any way (as far as I know), it had a similar feel to many of his movies. It had the same same crude humor and even many of the same Apatow go-to cast members. Another thing this film shared with other Apatow movies I've seen is the highly likable characters. Despite the flawed personalities, unimaginable insecurites, and crazy situations, the viewer is left feeling like they understand and care about the characters. No one is a completely bad guy (not even Jon Favreau's character with his hilarious and hideous perm.) These are basically good people just trying to get by in the best way they know how.

The film follows Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) as he gets engaged (to Rashida Jones' character) only to realize that he has no close male friends. What follows is a ridiculous, and yet somehow still charming, journey to finding a bosom pal. Klaven's new buddy, played by Jason Segel, is a little unorthodox, though certainly well-meaning. Together they bond over their shared love of all things Rush and their mutual feelings of loneliness.

Paul Rudd's performance, while entertaining, is not exactly a departure for him. While I certainly wouldn't deem him a one-trick pony, I will say that no new ground is trod by his portrayal of the clueless Klaven. Jason Segel, however, is truly funny and refreshing as the mostly honest and always on edge, Sydney Fife. The trailers might make Segel's character seem like the ultimate loose cannon, but upon viewing the whole film, he seems more well-intentioned and overzealous than overt troublemaker. Jon Favreau was also good for quite a few laughs, despite his small amount of screen time. His onscreen chemistry with Jamie Pressley (My Name is Earl) is palpable as they play the couple who loves to hate...or is it hates to love? each other.

Perhaps one of my favorite reasons for loving this film was that it was yet another new film that was obviously catering to the uncool crowd. Sure these people had insanely nice houses, cars, and clothes, but deep down they were also ubernerds. The viewer who thinks that crude humor means no clever humor will be surprised by this film. Yes, there's enough frat boy funny to go around, but there's also something there for the well-rounded geek. After all, it's about two guys who worship Rush. How cool could they be?

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