It's a fine Bromance
As a concept I like "I Love You, Man", take your stereotypical romantic comedy elements and place them in a set up of two male friends. It's not exactly clever but a lot of fun as we watch Peter and Sidney become best mates delivering all those cliches you usually see in regular rom-coms. But here is the thing "I Love You, Man" has an issue and it is sort of an ironic one as it is the casting of Paul Rudd and Jason Segel because whilst both deliver plenty of laughs it ends up feeling almost like an extension of characters they've played in other movies and because of that makes it feel like we've seen "I Love You, Man" before.
When Peter (Paul Rudd - Role Models) proposes to Zooey (Rashida Jones) life couldn't be better, that is until everyone realises that Peter doesn't have any male friends he hangs out with. So his mother and brother start to intervene trying to arrange man dates for Peter to go on but they often end with dire results, that is until he meets Sidney (Jason Segel - Forgetting Sarah Marshall) who's easy going charm appeals to Peter. Having swapped business cards it doesn't take long for Peter and Sidney to start hanging out, getting drunk and basically becoming best buds. But becoming best buds ends up threatening Peter's relationship with Zooey forcing him to make a tough decision.
So "I Love You, Man" is basically a romantic comedy but one which transfers all those cliches into the world of two guys becoming best friends. In fact it is almost "40 Year Old Virgin" like to start with as we get the set up of realtor Peter having no male friends and being inept at not only trying to make male friend but worse at hanging out with them. But this simple transfer of a romantic comedy storyline into one about male friends works and it is fun watching those cliche elements, such as the friends being shut out and the almost idolisation stage being played out between two dudes.
But whilst the transfer of the romantic comedy set up into one of friends is semi clever "I Love You, Man" is really a movie all about the comedy. So we get the humour of Peter being inept at making friends, ending up going out with a gay man as well as having work issues as he tries to sell Lou Ferrigno's home. And then we have Sidney the almost man child with his man cave and masturbation chair and modern bohemian lifestyle. Now all of the humour is good fun and there is barely a minute where there isn't at least one gag, but it just feels very familiar with jokes which feel like you've seen them before in other recent comedies.
This issue with familiarity comes from the casting of Paul Rudd and Jason Segel who do a good job of delivering the humour but because they are playing similar characters to what they have played in other comedies it just feels too familiar. It's because of this familiarity that some of the jokes don't have the pay off intended because we've seen both Rudd and Segel play man-child characters before and if only they had cast a less obvious pair then maybe it would have felt fresher and more original. And because "I Love You, Man" is a movie all about Peter and Sidney and their bromance the rest of the cast never really shine, with maybe the exception of Andy Samberg as Peter's brother Robbie as his pick up techniques are simple and amusing.
What this all boils down to is that "I Love You, Man" is a fun movie and with the twist on it being a romantic comedy for male friends being semi clever. But sadly it ends up feeling a little too familiar because of the casting of Paul Rudd and Jason Segel, who whilst are fun end up delivering the exact sort of comedy and characters we have seen them do before.