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Sunday, 14 June 2009

I Love You Man


Like every single trend since the dawn of time, Hollywood is going to run the current fad for crude yet emotionally heartfelt comedies into the ground. Foul-mouthed dudes and the women who love them have been getting a real good run at the cinemas since Judd Apatow hit it big with The 40 year-Old Virgin, and it's up to the individual to work out at which film the whole thing just stops being funny. But there's a pretty good chance that for a few people, I Love You Man just might be that film. Not because it's all that bad: it does everything this kind of comedy is supposed to, and with Paul Rudd and Jason Segel in the leads you have two of the current funniest guys in movies doing their best to keep things rolling along. There's even a decent concept behind all the comedy: Rudd is a fairly uptight guy who's about to get married, only he's been a "girlfriend guy" since his teens so he has to go out there and find a male best friend. Enter Segel, as a perfectly nice but kinda quirky guy who might only seem to be the solution to all of Rudd's problems. There are plenty of funny scenes here and the performances are top-notch, but after a while the story starts to wobble a bit - mostly because the central joke is that these two guys are having a platonic romance, and so the plot follows the usual plot of a romantic comedy. You know, they meet, they fall for each other, they split up over a misunderstanding / trivial matter, and get back together right at the end. But with two men it doesn't really work: either they'd ignore the problem, or if it was too big to ignore they'd just punch each other out or never speak to each other again. Which they can't do with this formula, so the final act feels a little weak as they just sorta drift apart a bit. This film’s minor wobbles aren’t anywhere near enough to say this genre is dead, but it's starting to look a little unsteady.

Anthony Morris (this review appeared in Forte #455)