DVD REVIEW: ‘I Love You, Man’

iloveyoumanbrDVD Overall: B

Film Grade: B

In a recent article posted on MovieRetriever.com entitled “The 10 Funniest People Working in Film Today,” actor Paul Rudd came in at number one on the list. Usually a supporting player, Rudd is an actor who makes every movie he is in funnier by proxy. He is the master of the intelligent pop culture reference. Unlike many of the awful comedies that depend entirely on pop culture references that cater to the lowest common denominator, Rudd makes “smart people” in-jokes that inspire laughs in critics and audiences alike. He also exudes an awkward-confident persona that is so likeable.

In the bro-mantic comedy I Love You, Man, Rudd gets the chance to really stretch his comedic chops in a role that inhabits most of the screen time. He shines amongst a supporting cast of brilliant comedians whose jokes show up only as distracting filler. The central relationship between Rudd and Jason Segel comes so naturally and humorously that the stupidity of many of the jokes are easily forgivable.

The story of I Love You, Man is original and clever. Peter Klaven (Rudd) is a woman’s man. He has always had more women friends than male friends and when pressed he can’t even name one close male friend. He has just proposed to his girlfriend and amidst their excitement he realizes that he has no groomsmen in mind. With the support of his fiancé and family, he goes on a quest to find a male best friend.

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After several man dates gone awry, Peter has about given up searching for a best friend. That is, until he meets Sydney Fife – an independent investor who scans open houses for free food and lonely divorcees. Peter and Sydney “hit it off” and the often-used boy meets girl dynamic is twisted as Peter plays the giddy, awkward boy looking for a friend.

What makes I Love You, Man great is that it uses a formula that we have seen over and over again, but twists it to make it a boy meets boy tale. Paul Rudd is a comedic master, and the funniest moments come when he throws in improvised lines and moments. Rudd is even believable as the awkward guy who can’t find any male friends, despite his established persona as one of the most dude-friendly men in film. He and Jason Segel, having worked together before, have excellent chemistry and their comedic banter is fantastic.

The problem in the film actually stems from the supporting roles. I never thought there was such thing as too much talent in a film, but this may be the example. The performances rank from hilarious to forced to phoned in. I was particularly annoyed by the usually funny Andy Samberg whose character was made gay simply for the stupid and childish gay jokes. Performances from Thomas Lennon and Rob Huebel are admittedly hilarious, but actors like Jon Favreau and Joe Lo Truglio just fall flat.

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Special Features Grade: B+

The single-disc releases is loaded with the usual special features. Typically in this kind of film the extended scenes are the best part. The actors are allowed to improvise their lines, which allows for some great comedic exchanges between characters. The I Love You, Man DVD includes extras, extended scenes, and a gag reel, all of which are essentially scenes from the film with more jokes. There are some great moments between Rudd and Segel and Rudd and Rod Huebel, but a lot of the other moments are just jokes that weren’t funny enough to make it into the movie.

I was actually surprised at how unfunny the “making of” featurette was. The most interesting part was the creation and implementation of the puke machine. The actors did the usual interviews where they talked about how wonderful it was to work with each other. For actors that usually exude such honesty a lot of the interviews seemed forced. There wasn’t even sarcasm or self-referential humor; it was just kind of dry.

One of the most-talked about actors in the featurette was Jon Favreau, who at the time of shooting had the hugely successful Iron Man in theatres. Favreau talked about himself and how generous he was for doing a supporting role in a comedy. Just because you directed one successful film does not mean people should be falling over to thank you for phoning in a supporting role. You’re not Orson Welles.

The commentary track featured director John Hamburg, Jason Segel, and Paul Rudd. It had a laid back conversational feel to it and it felt impromptu, but it also could have been funnier. A lot of it was trying to talk up the supporting actors and make them funnier than they were in the movie.

The DVD is worth a rent if you’re in the mood for a funny, bro-mantic comedy, but not worth a purchase.

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  • http://www.jeezem.com/videos.html Mike

    fluffy, and a little silly, but some good comedic moments

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