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I Love This Movie, Man!

Movie title: I Love You, Man (2009)
Spoilers ahead: No

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With exquisite performances and a script straight from the gods, I Love You, Man, starring Jason Segel as Sydney Fife and Paul Rudd as Peter Klaven, hits pay dirt. It’s funny, but just credible enough to be worth its salt as a serious story about friendship between two guys.

Peter is your average fellow. He’s a socially split personality—part cool guy and part office drone. His intelligence and sense of refinement keep him in a certain mannerly mold. He’s comfortable doing the things he’s always done and being the way he’s always been. He’s got his sights set on marrying one girl, the love of his life, Zooey (Rashida Jones).

Sydney Fife, on the other hand, is an honest guy, but a little bit too honest. He has no shame and he never cleans up after his dog. He's the epitome of liberation and self-expression. Heck, he makes Woodstock hippies look like shy schoolgirls! You only wish you could cut loose like this guy. You’ve heard it said before about someone you know: “He's crazy, but in a good way.” That’s Sydney.

They're different people, Klaven and Fife. Klaven is uptight. Fife is as loose as a chick he’d take home with him. Both men are astutely intelligent, but Klaven’s strengths lie in the business area. Among other things, Fife has street smarts and an ability to read people like cheap novels. An odd conversation at home gets Klaven started mentally confronting the fact that he has no real male friends in his life. Thus begins his journey to find a real friend. The relationship-bending tensions that will follow…well, he’ll cross that bridge when he comes to it.

This satiating comedy of witty banter and awkward situations sports some toe-curling embarrassment and some shameless sexual admissions, and (god forbid) some straight-up male bonding or “man dating,” in the film’s own words. The characters are lovable…from a say-too-much, share-all father and a gay but cool-as-hell brother, to a family that likely mirrors your own, not to mention friendship dynamics that anyone can relate to. But I love You, Man – while laced with dry, sharp, and off-color humor – does not hold up comedy as it’s finest trophy. The soft-pedal drama is the finest trophy, that ability to deal with drama without blowing a gasket.

It didn’t have to convince me of its quality and true-to-life-ness. I believed it. I felt it. It was serious, but never did it take itself too seriously (I realized this for sure right about the time Lou Ferrigno got Fife in a headlock and put him out for a nap!) Director John Hamburg and writer Larry Levin bring you one hour and fifty minutes of heartfelt onscreen harmony. Four stars for a winning and worthy I Love You, Man.

(JH)

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Grade: A- (4 stars) Recommended!
Rated: R
Summation: A friendless man takes it upon himself to find a friend before his wedding.
Director:
John Hamburg
Starring: Paul Rudd “Peter Klaven,” Rashida Jones “Zooey,” Jason Segel “Sydney Fife,” Sarah Burns “Hailey,” Jaime Pressly “Denise,” Jon Favreau “Barry,” Jane Curtin “Joyce Klaven,” J.K. Simmons “Oswald Klaven,” Andy Samberg “Robbie Klaven,” Lou Ferrigno (as himself)
Genre: Comedy / Drama

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