Saturday, April 4, 2009

Review of "I Love you, Man"

Many comedies these days, romantic and otherwise, are rife with cliches and quite honestly just aren't as funny because of them. While I do agree that some of these are necessary as a base from which to jump off but those comedies that rely on cliches are doomed before they even get off the ground. The cliches that I am referring to are such things as certain sight gags that are used over and over again or that character who shows up in every comedy with the same attitude and the same role. I think that the most nefarious movies that use these of late are the string of horrible movies that started with Scary Movie and has culminated with such atrocities as Epic Movie and one I just learned about today, Dance Flick. They even need to change the title to separate it from the rest.

Thankfully, "I love you, Man" seems to escape for the most part an over-reliance on these kinds of tactics. If you are beat over the head with the same joke over and over it just ceases to be funny! This movie follows in the footsteps of other great comedies that instill a sense of humanity into the comedy instead of strictly parodying that same human condition. There are several moments during the film where I could quite literally feel the movie slipping dangerously close to this over the top point only to be saved at the last minute by a scene that actually made you empathize with the character.

Paul Rudd is his usual self really, and as such he's quite good. He really does have a great ability to humanize his roles and make the audience feel sorry for him yet not too sorry for him. He is, in other words, the consummate lovable goofus. He is the main character, but he isn't left with the lion's share of the plot as Jason Segel and Rashida Jones play comfortably off of his character and create a believable triad. For anyone who has seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall or How I met Your Mother they really won't see anything new in his performance but his chemistry is quite good with Rudd. Rashida for her part avoids the ultimate cliche in my mind which is the significant other (usually a woman in these movies unfortunately) who is overly sensitive about ANYTHING that the main character does and turns her nose up quite frequently. Her character genuinely wants to see her fiancee find that male friend that he has been lacking for most of his life.

This brings me to the part of the movie that I was most impressed with. It takes a very critical eye on the difficulty with establishing male friendships in this culture. From my viewpoint it seems extremely easy for women to strike up lasting friendships but when men try to do this it can be extremely awkward. Perhaps this has to do with homophobic tendencies among males of this society but whatever the cause it is extremely prevalent. To this date, most movies and television shows depict relationships between two guys as effortless. Poker nights or drinking a brewskie in front of the football game are prevalent depictions. As someone who has for one reason or another always had better relationships with women I can certainly see how difficult it can be to establish a permanent friendship with a guy that didn't start in diapers or soon thereafter. Once we leave pubescense it can be very difficult indeed.

As a pure comedy I would recommend this movie to everyone. As an r-rated movie there is plenty of vulgarity and the all-powerful sexual innuendo but no nudity (which should appeal this puritanical society!). It's not an award winner by any stretch of the imagination but the characters are three-dimensional with few exceptions and the plot is believable enough. In the end the writing elevates this otherwise formulaic comedy to a good time had by all.

1 comment:

AnaDrea said...

I couldn't agree more. Totes magotes. :p