I Love You, Man

romantic-dinnerWhilst Judd Apatow’s name may not appear on the closing credits, his influence in this so-called “bromantic-comedy” is palpable. Following in the footsteps of Apatow’s irreverent comedies Superbad and Pineapple Express, I Love You Man, written and directed by John Hamburg, probes the concept of “man-love” – that intimate, zealous friendship between two straight males – with perception, wit, and plenty of cringeworthy moments along the way.

Apatow alumnus Paul Rudd plays Peter Klaven, an awkward nice-guy who begins the film proposing to his long-term girlfriend Zooey (Rushida Jones). Always more comfortable in female company, Peter realises he doesn’t have any close male friends to perform the role of best man, and so embarks on a series of luckless “man-dates” in an attempt to widen his circle of friends. After some predictable misunderstandings (such as when dinner with the seemingly perfect Doug turns a bit gay), Peter finds his man.

Sidney is a perennial slacker who enjoys drinking and dating divorcees. He’s most at home in his “man-cave”, where he stores his toys which include a drum kit, electric guitar, flat screen TV and memorabilia from the Canadian prog-rock band Rush, with which he and Peter share an obsession. They say opposites attract, and the sudden bond between the maladroit bridegroom-to-be and his extrovert man-friend threatens to tarnish Peter’s relationship with Zooey.

Rudd is painfully, cringe-inducingly funny, giving the impression that he’s never quite comfortable in his own skin. Boisterous and unashamedly decadent, Segel is his perfect counterpoint, while Rashida Jones plays Zooey with warmth and a delightful unaffectedness. An all-star cast of supporting actors includes J.K. Simmons as Peter’s father, Jane Curtin as his mother, Andy Samberg as his gay brother, and Jaime Pressley as Zooey’s temperamental best friend.

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