No film so epitomizes the current trends of comedy like the Jason Segel/Paul Rudd buddy film I Love You, Man. Love it or hate it, everything that is going on in the blockbuster comedy slate right can be found here in this one, very iconic film. Taking the "buddy" comedy concept that we've seen time and again from the Apatow stable and its spinoffs to a brand new level, we now have a comedy built upon those ideals, but structured as if it were actually a romantic comedy. It was as if these guys sat down and said, "What haven't we done as buddies yet?" The answer was treat the buddies as if they were dating ... except that they're not.
Paul Rudd plays a happily engaged man who soon realizes he has no one to be his best man at the wedding ... because he has no close friends. When his soon-to-be wife discovers and is clearly bothered by this, Rudd sets out on a series of "man dates" to find the perfect best friend. Enter Jason Segel, who fits the bill. From there it's boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy back. Same old formula, convenient new "bromance" flavor. The film is funny and touching, with scads of appearances by a number of familiar faces.
But it's hard to shake the feeling that this ground has been well covered by the TV show Friends well over a decade ago. Anyone who watched Friends regularly will recall the same formula often applied to roommates Joey and Chandler, who often had the same kinds of fights, spats, and lovers' quarrels I Love You, Man gets its kicks from. For that audience (which includes me), the freshness of this bit doesn't sell it. Been there, done that. Fortunately, a lot of the film's jokes really hit. Segal and Rudd are both naturally very funny people and carry the film on the strength of their wit and charisma alone.
And if you enjoy the film, rejoice, because once again -- like most Rudd comedies -- this disc comes loaded with over an hour of outtakes and deleted and extended scenes. There is so much extra funny here, you can kick back and get almost a whole additional movie's worth of gags out of it. In fact, the only extra I didn't like was the Gag Reel, which was loaded with unfunny gaffes and moments cut together with a focus more on clever editing than finding the funny.
Despite any criticisms I have, however, the film is well worth checking out and a great watch. It really has some fantastically funny moments and sequences that make it worth your while, even if you don't fall in love with it.
I Love You, Man is available now from Paramount Home Entertainment.