Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Slappin' the bass, man

The bromance is the new thing for guys and media is acknowledging that. MTV recently had a series entitled Bromance, in which a guy from The Hills looked for a new friend, or something like that. Shows like House and Scrubs have infamous bromances between the guy friends of each show.

And now we have a whole movie dedicated to the bromance: I Love You, Man. Unfortunately, the idea of the movie is actually better than the movie itself. When Peter (Paul Rudd, Knocked Up) proposes to his girlfriend Zooey (Rashida Jones, The Office) they quickly realize that while she has six bridesmaids he has no groomsmen.

His family prods him to try and find a best man, even if that means going out on some mandates with guys he barely knows. With the help of his family he goes to a soccer game with a guy who he can’t stand and a mandate that turns into a real date without Peter’s approval. He also gets ridiculously drunk and pukes all over the husband of Zooey’s friend.

And then he finds Sidney Fife (Jason Segel, Forgetting Sarah Marshall). Or, well, Sidney finds Peter’s open house. The two sort of hit it off and then begins the … well, courtship. Like a nervous boy asking a girl to the dance, Peter sets up a night of food and drinks with Sidney. And then they meet at the boardwalk and hang out in Sidney’s “man cave” (which is just the shed in back of his house). Soon enough the two are hanging out all the time.

There are more aspects about this movie that I didn’t like than ones I did like. I normally adore Rudd because of his sarcasm and his facial expressions that convey more than words ever could. Normally, he can play handsomely awkward without blinking, but in I Love You, Man Rudd just portrays awkward. The kind of awkward that exasperates your friends. The scenes can be painful to watch while he bumbles through social exchanges, spouting out nonsense in his attempt to be liked. Even Zooey finds Peter's antics annoying, pleading with him to stop.

Segel is okay, but he's nothing to elaborate on and Jones is adorable in her patience and understanding. The other character that stood out was Sarah Burns, who plays the single bridesmaid Hailey. Burns is a relative newcomer with I Love You, Man being her first big role. While she does a good job with the character, she falls short. Hailey seems as if she was written for a specific actress in mind: Kristen Wiig. Wiig would have nailed the performance with her under-the-breath comments and neediness. Burns, while funny, just seems a bit like a pale imitation of the Saturday Night Live scene-stealer.

In fact, the funniest part of the movie was probably the interactions with Jaime Pressly and Jon Favreau, who play a couple that bickers and exchanges sexual favors for an everyday favor. The two had just enough screen time because any more and they would have also lost their charm.

The movie is fun but overrated. To see Rudd and Segel at their best, rent or buy their previous movies, because I Love You, Man just isn't as good as it should be with the talent on screen.

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