Many films since the rise of Judd Apatow have claimed to be a bromance. Particularly “Superbad.” A bromance of course being a film about the close relationship between men that involves some degree of deep love without progressing in to homosexual activity. But “I Love You Man” may just be the first true bromance that has a central plot based around the deep friendship and admiration of two men while the romance of the main character is something of a secondary element. “I Love You Man” is in its truest form a romantic comedy about two heterosexual men who realize that they love one another.
Is that a little homoerotic? Sure, the writers make note of it by delivering a montage of main character Peter engaging in a series of blind dates with men to become friends, one of whom (Thomas Lennon, as hilarious as always) misreads the set-up and plants a passionate kiss on him at the end of a date. There is even some question of protagonist Peter’s sexuality due to his love for chick flicks and fine dining. But “I Love You, Man” sheds the ignorant pre-conceptions by the second half and transforms in to a sweet and hysterical story of two men who realize that they want to be close friends and love one another and the woman who refuses to keep them apart. True, “I Love You Man” does stick closely to the Judd Apatow mold, but the central premise is less about the goofball getting the hot girl, and more about the importance of male relationships in a world where friendship is difficult to come by. Whenever we see a movie our characters always already have friends or are friendless.
How often do we see them looking for friends? Like Apatow’s films, the comedy is based around Peter’s struggle to find his place in the world as a man, and exploring the ridiculous impossibility it is to find a friend who you can connect with. Jason Segel and Paul Rudd are laugh out loud funny as two men who could never quite find their roles in the society where men either grow up too quickly, or linger in childhood to near fiendish proportions, and the two attempt to find a balance, ultimately being drawn to each other through circumstances that involve Segel’s character Sydney’s hysterical play by play of a man trying to hold in a fart at an open house. Along the way director John Hamburg offers up a host of great cameos from folks like Andy Samberg, JK Simmons, Lou Ferrigno, Jon Favreau and Jaime Pressley, respectively. The latter two are given an endearing sub-plot as a married couple in eternal war ending every argument in planned kinky cosplay for make-up sex.
Avoiding the pitfalls of Apatow’s usual outputs, there is thankfully a lack of the shrill female element as Pressley is delightfully acerbic while Rashida Jones is Peter’s reluctant, patient, but loving wife Zooey who insists on Paul’s grappling with his man hood while also trying to remain in his life in the face of his new relationship with pal Sydney. “I Love You, Man” will appeal to the fans of man flicks who want to see a hilarious comedy that also pays respect to the crucial role male bonding plays in adulthood. One of the few true bromances in the last ten years that sheds a light on the importance of male relationships in society and the difficulties of making friends in a breakneck pace world, “I Love You, Man” is a hilarious and sweet dramedy with Paul Rudd and Jason Segel stealing every scene shared together.