Plot summary (with possible spoilers): Paul Rudd stars as Peter Klaven, a by-the-book real estate agent who has recently gotten engaged to Zooey (played by Rashida Jones), the woman of his dreams. The only problem is that Peter has no male friends that he can ask to serve as groomsmen or as best man. He has always spent so much time cultivating relationships with women that he never developed male friendships.
Peter doesn’t think anything is wrong with this until he overhears Zooey talking to a group of her friends one night. The friends warn her that marrying a man with no friends is a bad move. He’ll become overly clingy and demanding, which of course no woman wants. Once Peter learns what others really think of him, he decides to start finding male friends. His mother Joyce (Jane Curtin) and brother Robbie (Andy Samberg) start setting him up on “man dates”, but they all go horribly wrong.
Finally, Peter meets Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) while hosting an open house. Sydney seems cool and interesting, so Peter decides to pursue a friendship with him. The friendship goes through all the stages that a romantic relationship would go through, and ends up causing quite a bit of friction between Peter and Zooey. But Peter and Sydney manage to work through their problems, and Sydney is there to serve as Peter’s best man at the wedding.
My Reaction: I’m not the biggest Paul Rudd fan on the planet, and usually find him extremely annoying, but I have to admit that he was at least tolerable in this film. I couldn’t help thinking that five years ago this role probably would have gone to Ben Stiller…. Has Rudd displaced Stiller as the favored lead for the “troubled everyman” in these rom-coms? Meh, I hope not.
Anyway, the plot of I Love You, Man, while highly predictable, was entertaining at times. There were several laugh-out-loud moments, and the film did not suffer from the usual pacing problems that afflict many rom-coms. There weren’t any useless subplots, which always helps keep a movie chugging right along. And the relationship between Peter and Sydney was pretty fun, so I enjoyed watching them for the most part.
On the downside, the plot, as I said, was entirely predictable. We knew that Peter and Sydney would get to the “I love you, man” point, and we also could figure out that Peter would change as a result of his association with Sydney. No longer would he be the meek underling at the office, but would obviously stand up to Tevin before the end credits rolled.
Nevertheless, I Love You, Man was a fun enough flick that I didn’t feel as though I’d wasted my money seeing it in the theater. Do I wish that the lead roles were played by actors not in the Apatow crew? Yes, definitely. But apparently there’s no escaping Rudd and Segel these days. I give this movie 3 stars out of 5.