Friday night. I’m a single man who isn’t out on the prowl for young ladies. I’m looking for a good time though. So what do I do? I flip through the long list of movies that I still haven’t watched.I just finished a How I Met Your Mother binge, and was still in the mood for light heartedness. Passing on Napoleon Dynamite, I settled on: I Love You, Man.
Going in, I didn’t know what to expect. I tried to place the lead actor, finally remembering Paul Rudd from 40 Year Old Virgin. I was pleasantly surprised to see Jason Segel on the screen, whom I recognized as Marshall from the aforementioned TV comedy series How I Met Your Mother.
So on to the story. Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) by most measures would be appear to be a successful young man, a very eligible bachelor. His career is well established, he seems to be quite accomplished. He doesn’t dress like an idiot, and he is a sweet and considerate man who makes root beer floats for all of his fiancés friends. He’s a keeper.
Of course, all isn’t well. We find out that Peter doesn’t really have all that many friends. He also relates better to women. We are sent along on Peter’s journey to finding his best man, and oh what a funny ride it is. The element of funny develops organically, and the dialogue and scenes draw the laughter out of you naturally. It’s not the type of movie that hits you over the head with slapstick and not-so-subtle overtones of accidental homosexuality. Rather than exploiting that easily taken route, the movie glides easily across that tightrope. Instead of a story that was written to be funny, it feels more like a story that just happens to be funny. It’s the difference between a crude class clown and a good stand-up comedian with humorous observations. Of course, the story in itself could have been deeper. The relationship between Peter and Sydney seemed to move a little fast, but given that this is a mainstream comedy film, I think it’s more than forgiveable.
Peter Klaven and Sydney Fife are both well developed and well written characters. I Love You, Man takes the delicate issue of male sexuality in the context of a close relationship and tastefully handles it with finesse. Combine the great humor and grounded performances from Paul Rudd and Jason Segel (as well as the supporting cast) and you’ve got yourself a great Friday night, even if it leaves you thinking that you need your own Sydney. This movie is definitely staying in my library.