DreamWorks // 2009 // 104 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 11th, 2009
"I slappa da bass!"
Paul Rudd's got a nifty little win streak going with comedies and the momentum continues with this smart take on the bromance.
Rudd (Role Models) is Peter Klaven, a decent guy with no male friends, a fiancée, and a problem. Who is going to be his best man? Determined to undermine his reputation as a "girlfriend guy" and ensure the bridal party isn't ludicrously lopsided, Peter goes on a series of man-dates to track down his first real platonic best guy friend. After numerous setbacks, he hits paydirt with Sydney (Jason Segel, Forgetting Sarah Marshall), a cool guy who's a bit eccentric.
Nothing is easy, though. Their relationship hits a couple of speed bumps, thanks to a poorly thought out toast, a misunderstanding about money, and other plot devices designed to generate the requisite conflict found in these kind of buddy movies.
Here is one of those movies that was riotous in a packed theatre with a jubilant crowd, but when revisited in the quietness of my living room doesn't quite pack the same comic punch. Make no mistake, I Love You Man is a funny movie, smarter and more charming than the majority of most any other mainstream comedies. Consider this an enthusiastic recommendation. It's just that without the benefit of a hundred or so jovial fellow theater-goers, the movie falters in the laugh-out-loud moments.
Enough cynicism. What makes the film successful is a combination of a clever premise and a perfect cast. The "bromance" may be an annoying pop culture term these days, but the exploration of male friendship is still a ripe and worthy endeavor. Director John Hamburg is actually serious about crafting a movie that treats the idea with respect and, even though it's an R-rated comedy (language only, for what it's worth), I never felt he and the rest of the crew were simply milking the conceit for cheap laughs.
Rudd and Segel buy into it as well. Seeing as they're two of the most money comedy players today, having them on board is a boon. I dig both of these homeboys and their talents are perfectly suited for the characters they portray. Granted, Rudd may be in danger of getting typecast as the goofy, good guy boyfriend type, but he's turned his performance into an art form and harnesses all his powers for this role. His Peter personifies dopey awkwardness, hilariously exhibited when he tries to "ask out" Sydney in one of the smarter parallels to romantic dating. On the other side is Segel, a guy also known for a certain character -- the laid-back, earnest sort-of-imbecile -- and essentially plays off of Rudd's straight man. It's a successful formula, defused a smidgen by some uneven gags. The two have chemistry, powering the film to its genuinely touching finale and over the finish line.
Paramount has a solid Blu-ray, fronted by a clean 1.78:1 1080p widescreen, which represents a noticeable, but not shockingly awesome upgrade in visual fidelity. The Los Angeles setting lends itself to a warm, vibrant transfer and Lou Ferrigno's bulging arm veins have never looked more distinct. The TrueHD 5.1 audio may not have a ton to do, save for a stopover at a Rush concert, but it's a tight mix. Extras: an amusing, deprecating commentary with Hamburg, Rudd and Segel; deleted and extended scenes (HD); a funny gag reel (HD); and a standard issue making-of featurette (HD).
It's a great comedy, not as awesome as I remember it in theater, but deserves a look-see. The Blu-ray is worth the extra investment.
Not Guilty, bro.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080p)
* TrueHD 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes
* Gag Reel