You know, I wanted to be able to say that I really loved I Love You, Man. I really did. It came critically acclaimed, it did fairly well at the box office... not that that usually matters, of course. Then again, the people and movies I tend to like tend not to perform well there, but I'm getting off target again. This does beg the question, though: how do you cross that line between enjoying a movie on your own and enjoying a movie in the comfort of friends and family? For example, I went with the entirety of my family unit to see Rushmore over ten years ago, and after the seemingly third or fourth mention of 'hand jobs' I felt like grabbing one of the filmmakers by the throat, slapping them around a bit and saying, Hey, man! My mom's in the audience. WTF, dude? But that's just me. I'm just overly sensitive that way. Of course, these days, I Love You Man seems pretty tame by comparison. One wishes it were a little hipper, a little edgier. Oh well. Can't have everything!
But this does give me an opportunity to complain some more about the rise of Hollywood's new Nepotism Class. No, it appears that the days of a Spielberg or a Lucas sneaking in to the studio and completely changing the nature of the biz are long gone. Now you've got to be the child of a wealthy showbiz family just to get an entry-level job! Director John Hamburg, for example, is the son of New York radio talk show host Joan Hamburg. Rashida Jones, who plays Zooey in the film, is the daughter of Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton. And I'm pretty sure that cinematographer Lawrence Sher is related to uber-producer Stacey Sher. Not to mention blatant Resemblatism: is not Jamie Pressly the new Michelle Pfeiffer?
But our family unit did agree that the idea was a novel one: what do you do when you have so few friends, and you need someone to be the Best Man at your wedding? Someone other than your younger, aggressively gay brother, of course? Oh, but there I go again; I guess Andy Samberg is as good a role model as any. Enter Jason Segel into the picture. Yeah, this kid's got legs. Contrast his performance here with his lead role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and I think you'll find a good length of range. For some reason I thought of Zero Mostel... at least, a Zero in relaxed mode. I stand by that verdict, but I don't know if I want to re-watch the movie to confirm that. Segel's more relaxed here, and seems to be playing a character much older, and a little wiser, than himself. I understand where he's coming from, but dude, sometimes you just gotta man up and bag the dog crap. Spare yourself the aggravation! Try to make it one of your Man Rules: "Try not to aggravate people by leaving your dog's crap behind." Maybe ease into it with attitude.
Which brings me to Paul Rudd and his character. My close friend whose opinion I trust has a rule: a movie or a book's gotta hook me within the first 15 minutes... or the first chapter. I'm not sure what the page limit is on books. And somehow, I couldn't find myself relating to these people at all. Crazy rich white people. Can't do it. Maybe someday, fingers crossed, but not now. Getting married and starting a land development deal. As alien a world to me as the Mars of Total Recall, but at least that had some kitsch value. For me, Rudd seemed to be channeling Ben Stiller in the role he should've taken if he was available. Much like the lead in Hamburg's previous effort, Along Came Polly, a movie about which another friend of mine said that he knew was a bad movie, but damn! That P.S. Hoffman steals every scene he's in! High-enough praise for a comedy in my book. So, Hamburg covers both coasts with these two movies... is it time to venture into Alexander Payne's backyard, thereby covering the whole USA? Think about it!
So what DID I like about I Love You, Man? Oh, I don't know. It certainly was chock full of wall-to-wall little laughs, like the constant use of cutting-edge slang, and Klaven's botching of it. And like Along Came Polly, good comedy names. The kind Jerry Lewis might relish saying. Reuben FEFFER! Peter KLAVEN! Yes, the script is indeed full of a thousand tiny quotable moments, but it's the superstructure that needed some meat on the old bones somehow. And personally, I don't care how naive you are, but if you're a guy about to get married, and you ask your bride to be WHY you're getting married anyway, you deserve what you get. Some might say his bride's reaction was too tepid, or maybe they deserve each other. I mean, let's face it: Zooey's not exactly the alpha female in her group, right? Incidentally, was I the only one, or did the girlfriend group remind you of the girlfriend group in There's Something About Mary? Yeah, I thought it was just me. Well, what can I say? I don't get out that much.
As part of full disclosure, every once in a while a vote is called to abort the viewing of a motion picture or a TV show, and move on to something better or more familiar to us. Perhaps a similar Simpsons episode, or a Daily Show or Colbert Report we may have missed. I think a vote was called three times during the viewing of I Love You, Man. Of course, by the third we were about two thirds of the way through the damn movie, so we decided to keep marching to the end. For what that's worth. Over 'n out.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan