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Frat Pack Tribute Movie Review: I Love You, Man

by Drew Hunt, Senior Editor

According to urbandictionary.com, the word “bromance” is defined as “a non-sexual relationship between two men that are unusually close.” A word that has emerged into the pop culture lexicon thanks to the onslaught of Frat Packers and Apatow ethos, movie audiences seem to be chomping at the bits to see these guys do their thing – and, admittedly, with good reason. The latest foray into male-bonding is I Love You, Man, from Along Came Polly director John Hamburg.

Although not a Judd Apatow production, I Love You, Man without a doubt follows all the rules of one. Apatow regulars Paul Rudd and Jason Segal reunite after sharing some engaging scenes in last years Forgetting Sarah Marshall and effectively carry the entire film with their affable, man-boyish charm. Although both actors are exceptionally funny in both roles, the real revelation here is Rudd: having seen Segal do his leading-man-thing with Marshall, it’s now Rudd’s turn to stretch his legs as the films main protagonist – an honor that is certainly overdue. Starting out as a field reporter for an illustrious news team, all the way down to his turn as a role model, it seemed that it would only be a matter of time before Rudd became a name unto his self.

The time has come with I Love You, Man.

Starring as Peter, a real estate agent on the verge of marrying his sweetheart Zooey (played by the wonderfully infectious Rashida Jones), Rudd is loveable, endearing, thoughtful, and hysterical – all the qualities he’s retained for his entire career, now at the forefront of a film perfectly tailored for his comedic sensibilities. In fact, it’s hard to imagine anybody besides Rudd in this role. As his character quickly learns that he doesn’t have a single close male friend to take on the role of best man at his wedding, Rudd skillfully hits all the right marks and effectively makes the role his own, coming off as a young Ben Stiller (which admittedly makes no sense, seeing as the two men are close in age and have had long-stranding careers in film – but you get what I mean.)

After one disastrous man date after another, Peter finally meets Sydney Fife (Segal), a robust guy with seemingly no real source of income, but with a confidence and bravado that Peter unquestionably lacks. Opposites attract, sparks fly, and soon the two are in a full-fledged bromance, rocking out to Rush and discussing the pros and cons of a “masturbation station”. Rudd and Segel’s chemistry is undeniable and extremely funny – exchanges that seemed incomplete or rushed in Marshall are now fully realized as the two masterfully riff and joke through every scene. The duo give off an almost 21st-century Odd Couple vibe, as their contrasting personalities give weight to the comical context of the film.

Not to discredit to the other players, the characters in I Love You, Man are all engaging in their own rights, thanks entirely to the skilled actors cast. Andy Samberg is pitch-perfect as Peter’s younger brother and would-be mentor; Thomas Lennon (Reno 911’s Officer Dangle) is creepy-hilarious as Peter’s scorn stalker; and the venerable Jon Favreau is an absolute scene-stealer as a boorish example of overt manliness. J.K. Simmons, Aziz Ansari, and even Lou Ferrigno also hit all the right comedic notes.

As funny and engaging as the film is, I Love You, Man is more of an ascendance for Rudd. If anybody doubted the man or his star-status before, they can’t now. Is he really on his way to a Steve Carrell, Stiller-like fame? In the opinion of this review: totes magotes.

*****