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I Love You, Man (2009)

Paramount Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 8/11/2009

All Ratings out of
Video: 1/2
Audio: 1/2
Extras: 1/2

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 8/6/2009

I'm not sure why, but I've always rooted for the underdog. This typically applies to sports (except for my Tar Heels, who are rarely underdogs), but it can show up in other walks of life as well. For example, every few years I note an actor in small roles who I would like to see get more exposure. (The ultimate example is Lochlyn Munro. That guy cracks me up.) I liked Paul Rudd when he was first starting out in the mid-90s, when he was in things like Clueless and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. From there, he would show up in comedies, usually those made by his friends from The State. Even his gig on Friends didn't throw him into the spotlight. It was until he began appearing in movies made by "The Frat Pack" and Judd Apatow that audiences began to notice him. Now, Rudd is getting lead roles, as in the recent Role Models and now with I Love You, Man. But, is he ready to be a leading man?

Rudd stars in I Love You, Man as Peter Klaven, a Los Angeles real estate agent. As the film opens, he's just proposed to his girlfriend, Zooey (Rashida Jones). She asks if there's anyone that he liked to call and tell about the engagement, and that's when they realize that Peter doesn't have any male friends. He seeks advice from his brother (Andy Samberg) and his Dad (J.K. Simmons), and then sets out to find a friend. After a series of awkward encounters, he runs into Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) at an open house. The two make fun of prospective buyers and hit it off. Peter then awkwardly calls Sydney for a "man date" and the two begin to hang out. They find that they both love playing music and the band Rush. Soon the two become inseparable, despite the fact that their personalities are total opposites -- Peter is very tightly wound and plans everything, whereas Sydney is a slob who does whatever he pleases (and allows his dog to do the same). They start spending so much time together that Zooey begins to become concerned. Has Peter gone overboard with his "bromance".

I Love You, Man has a lot going for it. I can't say that I've ever seen a movie where a man had to find a best friend, so that premise was very intriguing. The movie could have portrayed Peter as a some kind of weirdo, but it does a great job of showing him as a nice, loving guy who just doesn't happen to have any close male friends. Similarly, Sydney could have come across as a crazed loser, as he does have some odd mannerisms. But, even at this lowest points, he's nothing less than likable. The movie also gets a huge boost from the supporting cast. Between her time in this film and on Parks & Recreation, Rashida Jones is becoming a master at playing the frustrated girlfriend. Jaime Pressly and Jon Favreau are great as a bickering couple. Although they aren't in the film for long, Samberg and Simmons have some good scenes. And Rush actually appears in the movie -- you can't go wrong with that.

Despite all of these kudos, the movie never grabbed me. It's certainly not a bad movie, and I didn't suffer through it, but at no point did it turn into the movie that I wanted it to be. The script is clever, but it's never laugh out loud funny. The only quotable line in the movie is actually written, not spoken. (Unlike Role Models, which I quote constantly.) I hate to say this, but I felt that Paul Rudd was the weak link here. While I've always liked him in supporting roles, his turn as the leading man did nothing for me. He seems to be vying for the "More Awkward than Ben Stiller" award, as he plays Peter as a mumbling, stuttering, nervous man who is constantly spouting terms which make no sense. What was meant to be the comedic highlight of the film, the "slappin' the bass" scene, goes on forever and should have stopped after the Borat joke. Rudd is by no means bad in the film, but he is asked to carry the film, and he doesn't seem to be ready for the task.

We've seen some great comedies this year, Role Models, Fired Up, and Eastbound & Down, and I Love You, Man simply doesn't measure up. The movie works better as a romantic comedy than a up-roarious comedy. The idea of men's friendship relationships is rarely explored in movies and this part works. The comedic aspects aren't bad, they're just a bit flat. For now, let's just say, I like you, man.

I Love You, Man puts out a nice spread on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Paramount Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at 33 Mbps. The image is very sharp and clear, showing only very mild grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look very good, and the image is never overly dark or bright. The daytime outdoors scenes look fantastic and the depth is great. The level of detail is also very good. The Disc also carries a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.5 Mbps. The track delivers clear dialogue and sound effects. The in-film music sounds great, providing nice surround sound and bass effects. The stereo effects are nicely detailed and very well-used in some scenes. The crowd scenes bring us impressive surround sound.

The I Love You, Man Blu-ray Disc contains several extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director John Hamburg and actors Paul Rudd & Jason Segel. As one would hope, this is a fun talk. The trio comments on the movie, noting many specifics from each scene, and they also rib one another. "The Making of I Love You, Man" (17 minutes) is a nice featurette which offers comments from the cast and filmmakers. The actors discuss their characters, while Hamburg talks about the story. We get a closer look at some of the key scenes and there's a discussion of the music in the film. "Extras" is an oddly named sub-section of nine brief featurettes which run about 22 minutes. These are all deleted scenes and alternate takes featuring various parts of the film. There is some funny material here. The Disc contains six EXTENDED SCENES which run about 13 minutes, and three DELETED SCENES which run about 3 minutes. Each of these sections contain some humorous moments. There is a 11 minute GAG REEL. Finally, we have the red band TRAILER for the film.

Review Copyright 2009 by Mike Long