"I Love You, Man" is more a sitcom idea than anything, but the "bro-mantic" comedy is working with a clever enough script and strong enough performers to make it a more memorable flick than one might have expected. The picture opens with Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) asking live-in girlfriend Zooey (Rashida Jones) to marry him. While the two are thrilled, she has a bunch of friends such as Hailey (Sarah Burns) and Denise (Jaime Pressly), while Peter really has no pals to share the news with. Even his co-workers turn out to be more "work friends" than "outside pals". No best friend, no best man for the upcoming wedding - and her friends don't take well to the idea of a guy without any friends.
As a result, Peter makes the decision that he'll go on the hunt for a friend. Not surprisingly, it doesn't exactly go too well at first. In steps Sydney Fife (Jason Segel), a free spirited guy who ends up at one of real estate agent Peter's open houses. While the two become the best of pals, Zooey begins to think that a new friend wasn't the best idea when Paul drops intimate information about Paul and Zooey's relationship.
The picture manages to get some good laughs thanks to Rudd's portrayal of the awkwardness of trying to figure his way around friendship and Sydney's odd way to understanding human nature. The movie barely defines Segel's character, but - strangely enough - that's almost a source of humor, as the character's quirks seem to have no apparent/explained source (in a way, it's sort of a sane, much less angry "What About Bob?", with Segel's character as the Bob.)
On the other hand, the film's unexpected amount of crudity is a surprise: while I'm certainly not in the slightest against crude humor, "I Love You, Man" throws out four-letter words with an ease that I haven't heard in a comedy in a long time. While that's not a bad thing in theory, there's no real need or use for it - it seems like language just to shock; while the picture throws out some memorable one-liners and dialogue in many scenes, the cursing starts to seem unnecessary and drags on the picture a bit.
That said, the picture is as successful as it is thanks to the performances, with Segel and Rudd having a surprisingly funny and enjoyable chemistry together, with Rudd's slightly anxious style meshing well with Segel's laid-back confident calm. The supporting cast also gets some pretty nice laughs, with Jon Faverau, Jamie Pressly, Rashida Jones and others offering fine supporting efforts.
"I Love You, Man" isn't without a few concerns, but director John Hamburg and his cast manage to get some solid laughs out of this buddy comedy.
VIDEO: "I Love You, Man" is presented by Paramount Home Entertainment in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The anamorphic widescreen presentation is acceptable, with sharpness and detail that maintain an average appearance throughout much of the movie, with only a few scenes looking a touch softer than the rest.
Some minor edge enhancement and artifacting was seen during a few scenes, but didn't pose much of a distraction. The print appeared to be in excellent shape, which is what one should reasonably expect from such a recent theatrical release. The film's warm color palette appeared accurately presented, with no smearing or other faults. Overall, this was a firmly average presentation.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is wholly and completely a "comedy mix", with hardly any use of the surrounds. The presentation remained dialogue-driven throughout and audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue and effects.
EXTRAS: Director John Hamburg is joined by stars Paul Rudd and Jason Segel for an audio commentary. As one might expect from the track, it's light on information, with the trio instead spending the time having fun chatting about their thoughts on the final product and sharing stories from the set.
A 17-minute "making of" documentary offers a few more insights than these sort of EPK pieces usually do, as well as some fun interviews with cast and crew. "Extras" offers tons of alternate takes/extra footage, some of which is hysterious (hysterical/hilarious - if no one else has already, I've so just copyrighted that word.) Also included are additional deleted/extended scenes and a very funny gag reel.
Final Thoughts: "I Love You, Man" gets surprisingly crude at times, but the picture still gets some terrific laughs thanks to solid performances and some memorable lines. The DVD offers good audio/video quality, as well as some terrific extras. Recommended.
The Film B