Friday, September 11, 2009

I Love You, Man (2009)

Directed by John Hamburg. I'm a married man but I resent portrayals of unmarried people as social defects who can't pull themselves together. Maybe this is true if the person wishes they were married, which Jason Segel's character in this movie definitely does not.

Another thing, he did Paul Rudd's character a significant favor by suggesting that Rudd's character question his plans to marry. For this he's treated like a home wrecker? Couldn't a lot of unhappy marriages and divorces be prevented simply by encouraging engaged couples to ask themselves and each other why they're going ahead with this plan?

Guys like Jason Segel and Paul Rudd are in a lot of movies these days and they seem to be movies for two kinds of people: people who love movies a lot and are interested and looking below the story into the whole making of the thing, and for people who couldn't care less about that sort of thing. People who couldn't care less about movies as movies just want to forget their life for 90 minutes, and are bound to like these sorts of flicks because they are damned entertaining. Otherwise, these movies involve a talented community of actors, writers, producers and directors who have also found a connection with a certain segment of today's film buffs want.

But film fans in the middle might have a rough go with a movie such as this or "Forgetting Sarah Marshall." These aren't the caliber of "40-Year Old Virgin" or "Knocked Up." The blight of these weaker efforts is that, while they start out special by dealing with real problems and feelings, they cheapen themselves by relying on e plot elements of movies it's trying to improve on.

"I Love You, Man" improves on most movies about a couple getting married by allowing them to go through with the plan and not making one of them so hateful that it's not possible they would have connected in the first place.

On the other hand, there's something contrived here that makes it hard to buy these two main characters. Paul Rudd's Peter Klaven vacillates a little unpredictably between well adjusted and completely dorky. Segel's Sidney is so not believable as a street smart confirmed bachelor we spend the first two acts of the picture waiting for a big reveal that never comes; is he really a woman? Is he boffing the fiancee? No, he's just not particularly convincing. Maybe if one more scene had been included of him with his other friends we keep being told he has, then I wouldn't have been so convinced he was up to something.

The last weak link in this chain is the final five minutes, in which all lessons learned are explained out loud, in case we weren't listening, a sure way to drive me up the wall when I watch any movie. You'd think I'd hated this, but I didn't. I laughed some and everyone in it is genuinely likable. What do you want, "Citizen Kane" everytime you open the damn disc case?

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