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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Bromantic comedy hits home

Published: March 27, 2009
Section: Arts, Etc.

Males from the age of eighteen to twenty-four do not exactly comprise the hardest demographic to satisfy when it comes to movies. We don’t ask for much. Whether it is an action movie filled with explosions or a comedy loaded with bathroom humor, our group as a whole knows what we like.

We (I use that pronoun because I don’t like feeling alienated and alone) also know what we don’t like. Males in my demographic usually do not take nice to a subgenre of comedy created specifically to torture or torment the male on dates. I’m talking about the romantic comedy. Don’t get me wrong, there are a couple of movies that break the mold (“Love Actually,” “The Notebook”) and are actually enjoyable. However, since I’m generalizing, I contend that the romantic comedy fandom skews heavily in favor of the female moviegoers. It’s almost as if that demographic has their own genre created specifically for them. Being the greedy moviegoer that I am, I too want a subgenre of comedy created for my demographic alone. Fortunately, Paul Rudd and Jason Segel have delivered with an answer to the romantic comedy in the form of “I Love You Man.”

This bromantic comedy (doesn’t that just have a ring to it?) deals with Peter Klaven’s (Paul Rudd) quest to find a best man for his wedding. Unfortunately for Peter, he has never actually had a true male friend. To amend this problem he must put himself out there and meet guys. In essence, instead of the typical boy meets girl story, writer and director John Hamburg flips the traditional gender roles and allows Paul Rudd to search for a male friend. Rudd’s character finds his “man crush” in the wilder, unkempt Jason Segel. Segel’s character brings Rudd out of his shell and allows him to be the man he never knew he could. (See how this is like the romantic comedy formula? Awesome.)

“I Love You Man” is engaging because of its leads. Both part of the hit-making Apatow team, Segel and Rudd are compelling and believable as best friends. Rudd once again shows his versatility as an actor. There seems to be no role, big or small, through which Rudd cannot charm the audience. Jason Segel adds life to every scene he is in and once again solidifies himself as a strong comedic actor. However, “I Love You Man” is best when the two actors play off one another. Their chemistry and improvisation skills alone elevate this film from a sweet story about friendship to a belly hurting laugh out loud comedy regarding the importance of being oneself even in the face of your significant other.

To be honest (despite the subgenre it has created for itself), the movie really does not break down gender barriers or change the face of moviemaking. The movie is enjoyable for males and females alike. On a scale from “Drilbit Taylor” to “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (“Forgetting Sarah Marshall” earning the highest rating, because there is no way “Drilbit Taylor” could) the movie falls somewhere in the middle. However, the movie is a study in just how much two hilariously fresh actors can do for a movie when you simply put a camera on them. Frankly, I could watch Rudd and Segel watch paint dry. They are that entertaining.