Thursday, February 5, 2009

Hey, Paul Rudd... I LOVE YOU, MAN!

A few weeks ago, I attended a free advance screening of the upcoming comedy, I LOVE YOU, MAN, starring one of my favorite actors, Paul Rudd. I've made no secret about the man-crush I have had on Paul Rudd for years, and really, can you blame me? He's the link between the three best comedy troupes around nowadays: Will Ferrell and the Frat Pack, Judd Apatow and his crew, and the geniuses behind The State. He has been a scene-stealer in some of the funniest movies of the past decade or so, including ANCHORMAN ("60% of the time it works every time"), THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN ("You know how I know you're gay? You like Coldplay"), and WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER ("You taste like burger... I don't like you anymore"). He has even expanded his repertoire over the years with dramatic fare such as THE SHAPE OF THINGS and THE CIDER HOUSE RULES. But when it comes to comedy, he is like human embodiment of IMAX 3D -- that is to say, he has the uncanny ability to make terrible movies watchable, good movies great, and great movies awesome. He is, quite simply, the MAN, so I jumped at the opportunity to see his latest endeavour.

Before I talk about the movie, I should mention that the screening was held in the Paramount Screening Room at the studio's office in Times Square. It was pretty nifty. When we exited the elevator, we were greeted by a hallway featuring a mural of scenes from classic Paramount films, ranging from THE TEN COMMANDMENTS to THE GODFATHER to GLADIATOR. I probably could've spent a half-hour looking at the mural, but we were quickly ushered through a spacious reception area (featuring a series of backlit one-sheets for THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, the studio's big Oscar hopeful... meh) and into a cushy screening room. Since I was one of the "common folk," I think I was supposed to take a seat on a folding chair set up along the wall... but since I was alone and inconspicuous, I noticed an empty theatre seat and snagged it. This prompted the guy sitting next to me to remark, "Well played!" so I guess I scored a small victory. The seat, by the way, was very plush and one of the most comfortable theatre seats in which I've ever sat. Then, finally, in a pristine digital presentation, the movie began.

The story is simple: After proposing to his girlfriend, Peter (Paul Rudd) realizes that he has no real male friends. Thus he embarks on a series of "man dates" in the hopes of finding a new best friend, and hopefully, Best Man. Naturally, hijinks ensue... and then he meets Sydney (Jason Segel), whose charming, laid-back, forthrightness perfectly complements Peter's awkward, naive shyness and the two become instant friends. They bond over beer & wings and Rush jams and have a grand old time. Along the way, Peter teaches Sydney about responsibiliy and Sydney teaches Peter how to let loose. But as their friendship grows, it begins to take a toll on Peter's relationship and he must either find the proper balance or choose between his fiancee and new friend.

If this plot sounds familiar, it's because it is not unlike any number of romantic comedies that have come and gone over the years. Indeed, the movie could have easily teetered on the brink of cheesiness... but thanks to the male twist and the comedy stylings of Rudd and Segel, it manages to provide big laughs while also being completely endearing at the same time. Much of the dialogue is obviously ad-libbed, which is awesome. And the supporting cast is so good, it's almost ridiculous. You've got the lovely and talented Rashida Jones as Peter's fiancee, Zooey... J.K. Simmons and Jane Curtin (!) as Peter's parents... Andy Samberg as his gay brother... Jaime Pressley as Zooey's friend and Jon Favreau as her macho jerk husband... Thomas Lennon and Joe Lo Truglio from The State as two of Peter's "dates"... and even a bizarrely integral appearance by the Incredible Hulk himself, Lou Ferrigno.

All in all, it's a hilarious take on the wacky world of male friendships, and further proof of Paul Rudd's innate awesomeoness. I LOVE YOU, MAN opens on March 20th, and I highly recommend that everyone check it out. It is, after all, the first-ever... wait for it..... BRO-MANTIC COMEDY!

(Hey, that might've been cheesy, but I guarantee that every major film critic in the country will be using that term in a month or so. Thieving bastards!)


  1. So agreed on Paul Rudd. Who knew that the step brother from Clueless would go on to such great things?

  2. Sounds like a great supporting cast...