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"I Love You, Man"

Directed by John Hamburg.
Written by John Hamburg and Larry Levin.
Starring Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, and Rashida Jones.
Release Year:  2009
Review Date:  3/29/09


"I Love You, Man" is a great pre-summer comedy; it's the movie I was hoping "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" was going to be last year, until that movie started and ended with me not laughing.

I think that's because of the great mix of laughs for a slightly more adult audience, a better-than-average script and a great mix of supporting bit players that diversify the time spent watching Paul Rudd and Jason Segel (who starred in "Marshall") not act.  The story follows Peter (Rudd) as he begins his engagement to Zooey (Rashida Jones); Peter has always been great with the ladies and now he's found his life partner.  Zooey is a little worried about her man, see, Peter has never really had any male friends, so with wedding party planning in its early stages, Peter and Zooey both decide it would be best if Peter goes out to meet some men ASAP, so he goes on a series on man-dates and man-encounters to get out to find some new buds.

Maybe it's just me, but it feels like "I Love You, Man" is coming a few years late...the "bromance" idea or anything involving a man's discomfort with meeting other men will always make me laugh, but I feel like we were just rounding the corner on this being a tabled discussion a ways back.  Again, could be me, but being able to tell other dudes I know how much I love 'em isn't that out of the ordinary.  Anyway, the film gets good mileage out of its main plot, and then after Peter meets Sydney (Segel), and the two embark on the man-romance that tries to establish a friendship that both men value.  To me, the better parts of the movie were any time Peter acknowledged his situation, or whenever he hangs out with his gay fitness-trainer brother (Andy Samberg), or whenever Jon Favreau and Jaime Pressly appear as Zooey's constantly-fighting couple friends.  Some of the very, very chatty script has good laughs around sex of all kinds, or some reflective moments like when Sydney recognizes that all of his friends seem to suddenly have lives and no time for him.

All of it is consistently good.  I laughed a lot, but I never blew a gasket; the very intentional line reading and pedestrian editing and a bit of joke repetition (wait, another scene where Peter tries to sound cool to Sydney by giving him a silly nickname???) bring the product down for a movie fan but probably will go unnoticed by 95% of "the people."  I don't know if this is a film that I will be suckered into when it's on cable, like I do now if "Superbad" is on Showtime every two weeks, but it was funny.

It's just not going to blow the roof off like "Old School" did.  Manage your expectations and you'll be in for a great time at the movies!!

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 03/30/09