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WARNING WARNING WARNING: If you have any personal objections to dialog involving explicit descriptions of sexual things, stay home. That also means you dummies who bring their five year olds along to the movies because you can't or won't or couldn't be bothered with getting a babysitter. We wouldn't be writing this if we hadn't seen it with our own eyes. Leave 'em home!
IN SHORT: An applause generating, very raunchy (though nudity free) dateflick. [Rated R for pervasive language, including crude and sexual references. 105 minutes]
We fully understand that someone looking at the poster for I Love You, Man could easily guess wrong about the gist of the film. So, right off the bat, I Love You, Man is not about some insecure straight guy who discovers the "happy camper" within. That kind of story would have made all our homosexual compatriots -- we've been in some form of the entertainment biz since age fifteen -- very happy. Of course, all but two of 'em died back in the 1980s so that kind of story wouldn't be a heckuva lot of fun. This film is a comedy. Mostly about a guy who, once he finds "the one" and decides to commit, realizes he has no guy friends to fill out a proper wedding party, groomsmen up to Best Man.
The most important of the substories involves a koffee klatch of attractive femmes discussing sex, sex activities, and the utter lack of competent men to perform such (including the onessome are married to). By the time we see this bit, there's only one single femme left in the group and that sets up an amusing 'fixed-up date' scene later in the film. So once again the WARNING: We're not so naive that we think your average fifteen year old won't know what's being discussed in the dialog of I Love You, Man. We have known adult femmes who would cringe at the same dialog. IF you haven't gotten the point by now, don't blame us if you freak about how inappropriate this film is for the five year old you just happened to bring along. Back to the film...
Hard working real estate agent Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) is about to become the happiest man in his particular world -- assuming that love of his life Zooey (Rashida Jones) says "yes" to the proposal that kicks off I Love You, Man. Well, she does. Peter is happy. The Klaven parental units Oz and Joyce (J. K. Simmons and Jane Curtin) are happy. Even his married pals, Barry and Denise "Bickerson" (Jon Favreau and Jaime Pressly) are happy for him. [That's an old radio reference, folks. We have know idea what said couple's surname is. They fight. They have phenomenal make-up sex. It's an old joke updated for a new century and it still works, even if all the "making up" is off screen.]
While Zooey's posse of pals are divvying up bridesmaid assignments, the groom to be makes a horrifying discovery. He has no male pals whatsoever to properly escort those bridesmaids and, even worse, he has no bestest male friend to be his Best Man. Sure he could ask younger brother Robbie (Andy Samberg) to do the honors but that wouldn't be quite right. Robbie is a trainer at a local gym. He lives for hunting straight guys. So, any adult who has a child begging to see the film, that's your final warning.
So, how does a grown male find a new best friend while the countdown clock to impending nuptials ticks loudly in his subconscious? Blind dates? Interventions at the gym, before Robbie takes down another breeder? Or maybe... actually positively in this case ... the answer comes accidentally, in the form of cougar hunting Sydney Fife (Jason Segal). Peter is sole realtor dealing actor Lou Ferrigno's Hollywood estate. At an open house he's running Peter meets Sydney. Sydney is there for the free food and access to money laden divorcees. Business cards are exchanged. Sydney gets Peter to goof off from work and reveals a side of single life that a more repressed Peter never fully indulged in. Party central. Sydney rides a Vespa scooter. He lives in a no girls allowed "man cave" off the boardwalk in Venice California, shared with his bong and records and enough instruments to supply a small rock band. More important, the man loves the band Rush. That is so particularly a male thing we're not going to try to describe it.
It strikes us that, for anyone just reading this brief explanation of who the characters are and what their deal is, I Love You, Man probably appears to be a horrible, tacky, distasteful and definitely tasteless film. It sure could have been but something along the way went horribly right in the making of the movie. It is funny. It makes a great argument for the joys (sic) of marriage. It also conforms to the usual setup - conflict - breakup and makeup that is the template for all romantic comedies. More important, it works.
For the carefree 30-ish single male lifestyle is both praised and mercilessly dissected. The net result is a very enjoyable time in the dark. I Love You Man falls into the great category known as a "popcorn dater". Buy one big popcorn. make sure finger touch when you go grabbing up you snack [everybody reading say it together now,: "awwww"]. For the single shlubs who have been through one crash and burn after another, you'll still laugh. For those living in the past, short appearances by the real Lou Ferrigno are quite fun.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to I Love You, Man, he would have paid . . .
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