I Love You, Man should not be entertaining as it is. The plot is as formulaic as they come, and there is nothing here that we haven’t seen a billion times before. And yet, somehow this cast manages to make things feel fresh. Even as I was rolling my eyes at the predictability, I was having a great time watching the “bromance” that drives the film. The movie is as successful as it is entirely because of the ensemble, and their interactions drive the emotion and humor of the story.
The film follows the standard formula found in all romantic comedies, and yet it feels fresh because of the unique angle the story is told from. Instead of focusing on the guy trying to get the girl and then having all sorts of comic misadventures, I Love You, Man opens with the guy already having the girl. In fact, the very first scene is the proposal that usually serves as the finale in most films of this type. Peter Klaven, as played by Paul Rudd, is seemingly the perfect guy. He’s successful, funny, considerate, etc. His only flaw is that he has no real guy friends. He has lots of acquaintances, but nobody worth calling on the night of his engagement, and definitely nobody to serve as best man. It is this realization that sets the film in motion as Klaven sets out on his quest to find a male friend.
Still tweaking the formula, we are presented with a series of “dates gone wrong,” as Klaven attempts to find a suitable friend/best man. Taking the romance out of the situation provides a unique comedic perspective, and one I found endearing. Eventually, he meets Sydney Fife (played by the always entertaining Jason Segal) at an open house he’s holding for Lou Ferrigno (the Incredible Hulk), who hilariously cameos as himself. They strike up a friendship, and the rest of the film focuses on the formulaic and yet hilarious bond that develops between these two polar opposites. Eventually, as formula dictates, their friendship begins to compromise Klaven’s relationship with his fiance Zooey, as played by Rashida Jones.
All of this plot is relatively inconsequential, however. The humor derives from the dialogue and the performances. Rudd’s portrayal of Klaven is hilarious. He’s a really nice guy who is trying way too hard to impress his new friend. His attempts to be cool consistantly fail, but are always funny. The film also features hilarious performances from Andy Sandberg, J.K. Simmons, Jaime Pressly, and even Jon Favreau. Favreau especially stands out as the husband to one of Zooey’s friends who inexplicably can’t stand Klaven. It’s a very funny performance.
Brand new on Blu-Ray, I Love You, Man has some pretty entertaining extras. The cast has a strong background in improvisation, and as such, a lot of dialogue was made up as they went along. One of the features on this set is a series of alternate takes where they show the same set-up with multiple punchlines improvised in succession. This provides an interesting insight into the technique of improvisation in film, and while not every line works, the process is fascinating to watch. There are also deleted and extended scenes, a making of documentary, commentary tracks, etc. The making of documentary is, as usual, pretty generic, but it is kind of interesting seeing the special effects work utilized for a very funny vomit gag towards the beginning of the film. Other than that, there is nothing too special in this section of the extras.
Overall, this is a very funny movie. The premise provides an interesting twist on some old ideas, and it’s basically just a lot of fun to watch. It definitely won’t make you think, but you will be entertained.