Sunday, August 16, 2009

Movie Log: I Love You, Man

I guess I shouldn't call I Love You, Man a "romantic comedy," since the world wants to call it a "bromance" -- more than that, the movie that revitalized "bromances," as if there was a vast pool of previous movies in that category. But it's a movie about love with a lot of jokes in it, which makes it a romantic comedy by any standard other than the most blinkered Hollywood definition -- the kind that includes notes of demographics and discussions of Reese Witherspoon's oevure.

It's funny and witty, with characters who talk interestingly -- if, at time, very stupidly, on purpose -- and who have real connections to each other that aren't pure plot requirements. It's not a great movie, but it'll be watched in fifty years, even outside film-school symposia on the comedy resurgence of the mid and late aughts.

Paul Rudd plays a guy -- you know, that guy? the one Rudd always plays? that guy -- who's about to get married to Rashida Jones, and is ridiculously happy until he realized he doesn't now have, and apparently never has had, a real male friend. (I'm a cynic, and think those kind of deep, meaningful, lifelong connections are generally Hollywood bullshit, particularly when it comes to men. Or maybe I'm just an overgrown Paul Rudd character myself.)

So Rudd has a funny montage of "dating" to find male friends, with the usual mishaps (jerks, weirdos, gay men), and then runs into Jason Siegel. Something like the usual rom-com cliches follow -- only funnier, since they're two guys, get it? -- and it actually is funny most of the time, and the wheels of the plot stay underneath the Paul Rudd vehicle until near the end, when there must be the inevitable break-up before the teary wedding reunion.

I Love You, Man is a movie that takes a very well-worn set of cliches and puts the slightest of spins on it; it's entertaining and fun and silly, but not a movie that bears any deep thought. (Rudd apparently doesn't need to work at all at his real estate job; he can wander off for days at a time, and seemingly is only handling one house. Must be nice to be a Realtor in a comedy.)

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