19 March 2009

At the movies: I Love You, Man.

As an L.A. realtor Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) gets closer to his upcoming wedding, he realizes he has no male friends, an imbalance which he seeks to remedy when he meets Sydney (Jason Segel). As the two develop a friendship, Peter discovers a whole new world, especially when it comes to dealing with his wife-to-be's reaction.

Rudd and Segel were comic gold in last year's Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and both have been A-list material in the recent wave of big-ticket R-rated comedies, so pairing the two in this film is a given. Add in the fact that director/co-writer John Hamburg (who made the masterpiece Safe Men) and you have a recipe for greatness, though one that feels a little compromised in tone, hinting at perhaps a stranger, less audience-friendly incarnation in an earlier cut/draft.

The only weak note in the film is Andy Samberg, playing the kind of homewrecking stereotype that gives gay men a bad name. He is fortunately counterbalanced by a exceptional Thomas Lennon, who brings some dignity to what could have been demeaningly stereotyped.

If I Love You, Man doesn't quite hit the heights of Forgetting Sarah Marshall or explore the weird tangents of Role Models, it's still a delightful film, and it's anchored by an exceptional Rudd performance, easily one of the finest of the year. And what Role Models did for Kiss, this film doesn for Rush. Proceed accordingly.

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