In sunny Los Angeles, real-estate man Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) is happily in love with his fiancée Zooey, played by Rashida Jones. They cuddle up and, on weekends, they love the idea of watching programs on PBS. They may not be dynamos of activity, but they have love, warmth, and a decent sex life.
And they know how to have fun,
In John Hamburg’s “I Love You, Man,” the problems arise when Peter overhears Zooey’s friends express dismay that he has no male friends. What’s up with that? Peter is not a closet case; no worries there. But don’t real guys have at least one male buddy?
‘I Love You, Man’
DIRECTED BY John Hamburg
SCREENPLAY BY Hamburg and Larry Levin
STARRING Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Sarah Burns, Greg Levine, Jaime Pressly, Jon Favreau, Jane Curtin and J.K. Simmons
RUNNING TIME 108 minutes
Stricken with guilt and insecurity, Peter begins a quest. Find a buddy, be a normal guy. After a few misses, he lands a whopper of a friend — a real dude with a bachelor pad right around the corner from Venice Beach. Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) claims to be an investor, but he proves to be an outrageous companion — a real buddy Peter buddies up to.
Soon Peter and Jason are inseparable, jamming to Rush, and brazenly taking liberties that imperil the relationship between Zooey and Peter.
I mean, is it normal or even just plain all right for a guy to ask his friend about his sex life, never mind blurt out some details at a family gathering? Is this what it means to have a buddy?
“I Love You, Man” is a comedy with a truckload of laughs, thanks to some one-line zingers and hilarious situations. But deep down, it offers something more — nothing culturally or philosophically explosive, but questions that are worth thinking about.
Does every guy feel incomplete without a buddy, and what compels more than one man to exclaim that he has more fun with his friends than with his wife?
In an oblique fashion, “I Love You, Man” prods us into thinking about the nature and boundaries of straight male friendship in America, not to mention the touchy and elusive subject of what guys really want. The comedy does not have the gusto or depth to really explore the subject; it movie merely swirls around it with levity.
And it is fun.
For our era, Rudd is a perfect everyman. I enjoyed Segel’s antics, but liked Rashida Jones even more. A few leading roles and she would be the Doris Day of a new age.