Stuck in a Rudd

by robbiefreeling
March 18, 2009 4:52 AM
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Resembling nothing so much as an unholy mindmeld between Judd Apatow and the New York TimesJennifer 8. Lee, I Love You, Man would be a disappointment but for the low standards that mainstream Hollywood comedy has beaten into us. Last year may well have signaled the decline and fall of the twin tendencies of recent multiplex humor, the lowbrow and the bromantic, as each new entry—Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Pineapple Express, Step Brothers, and, good god, Zack and Miri Make a Porno—dumped a shovelful dirt on the genre’s grave. I Love You, Man plays like a zombie iteration of a faded trend, recycling bits, gags, actors, music, and subtexts from previous movies and not even pretending to aim higher.

Neither Apatow nor Lee actually had anything to do with the movie (not that Lee hasn’t noticed her influence on it), but that they might as well have suggests I Love You, Man’s cynicism. John Hamburg (Along Came Polly) doesn’t so much direct as line up comforting signifiers for a demographic conditioned to laugh at bro jokes, groove to good-times montages, and nod along to a dutifully cued Vampire Weekend song. All the tropes of the Apatow male weepie are here: a sensitive dude, his slovenly (but, deep down, also sensitive) buddy, the celebration of the inner caveman and the disruption of the placid life, all paving the way for the ultimate affirmation of Growing Up and Settling Down. The movie’s stabs at currency, impersonal and lame, are right out of the New York Times Style section: complacency about affluence, Bushnellian blue talk, inoffensive indie rock, and contrived social mores and faux trends (“man-date” anyone?).

Click here to read the rest of Elbert Ventura's review of I Love You, Man.

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  • Steve | March 22, 2009 2:20 AMReply

    Actually, this film is surprisingly good. (And believe, me, I hated Along Came Polly as much as anyone.) I Love You Man is definitely not ground-breaking, but its consistently funny. It works mostly as a showcase for the actors who are consistently good form the bit players (Andy Samberg, J.K. Simmons, Jane Curtin, Jon Favreau, Sarah Burns) to the leads (however you feel about Jason Siegel, I think its undeniable that Paul Rudd is disarmingly likable and has a singularly wierd sense of comic timing). I saw it b/c Film Comment gave it a relatively good review, and I'm glad that I went. If you already dislike this kind of movie, it probably wont convert you. But its another memorable industry in a mini-revival of Hollywood comedy.

  • Bill C. | March 18, 2009 6:13 AMReply

    This movie looks awful. But were you expecting better from the director of "Along Came Polly"?