Ruddtrospective #4: I Love This Movie, Man

Lots of spoilers for the Paul Rudd classic, I Love You, Man(2009), and the great jokes in it; again it’s a great movie and you should still be able to enjoy it even though I’m about to recap it in a much less interesting fashion

I’m gonna try things a little differently this time, and if you guys enjoy this, I might just review things this way from now on. I’m going to do a quick breakdown of the cast and plot, and then I’ll just list various thoughts and facts I have about this film.

I Love You, Man stars Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Jaime Pressly, Sarah Burns, J.K. Simmons, Jane Curtin, Andy Samberg, Jon Favreau, and Rob Huebel. There are also cameos from Aziz Ansari, Nick Kroll, Joe Lo Truglio, Thomas Lennon, Lou Ferrigno, and the band Rush.

The plot revolves around real estate agent Peter Klaven(Paul Rudd), his fiancé Zooey Rice(Rashida Jones), and Peter’s new best friend, Sydney Fife(Jason Segel). The movie begins when Peter proposes to Zooey, his girlfriend of three months, after sharing with her his plans for a future building complex. He’ll be able to put a down payment on the land with the money he’ll make off of selling Lou Ferrigno’s house. We shortly learn that Peter doesn’t have a best man, and has never really had any male friends. After an uncomfortable dinner with his parents(J.K. Simmons and Jane Curtin) and brother Robbie(Andy Samberg), Peter overhears Zooey telling his friends about his lack of friends and resolves to make more friends. Around this time we are also introduced to Peter’s coworker, Tevin Downey, who tries to get Peter to split the commission on the Lou Ferrigno house. Tevin claims that Peter hasn’t marketed himself enough and Tevin has the connections and advertising to successfully sell the estate. He also says that he has his face printed on urinal cakes, and if you go to any Applebee’s or Fuddruckers’s in the nearby area, you can piss on Tevin Downey’s face. Charming.

Thus begins the montage in which Peter searches for a best friend. Peter asks Zooey’s friend and business partner, Denise(Jaime Pressly), if he can hang out with her husband, Barry(A giant douche played brilliantly by Jon Favreau). Things don’t go well, and Peter ends up projectile vomiting in Barry’s face. Peter goes to his brother for help. While at the gym that Robbie courts straight men at, Robbie introduces Peter to his friend Lonnie, whose voice cracks after every other word. They go to a hockey game together, and Lonnie’s loud enthusiasm for the team leads to him getting in a fistfight with a very drunk man. Desperately, Peter tries to find someone on the internet, and comes across a young, handsome man named Mel Stein. But when Peter meets Mel Stein at a nearby diner, he realizes he’s been cat-fished by a ninety year old man. Finally, Peter’s mom sets him up with one of her friend’s sons, Doug(Thomas Lennon) who recently moved to town. The two enjoy a nice dinner together, and decide to meet up again soon. But then Doug kisses Peter, because Peter’s mother had made the dinner sound like something else entirely. It’s a very funny take on the unsuccessful dating montage, and because it’s just a guy looking for a friend, it’s also oddly wholesome.

Peter gives up hope until he throws an open house at Lou Ferrigno’s mansion and meets a very special and funny gentleman. A tall gentleman named Sydney Fife makes his way over to Peter to compliment him on the paninis he’d set out for the prospective buyers. The two hit it off instantly. Sydney correctly identifies a gentleman who only came to this open house with the intention of turning it down to impress his girlfriend. Sydney then tells Peter that he has no intention of buying, he goes to open houses all the time to eat free food and hit on recently divorced women. Peter gives Sydney his business card and says he should give him a call if he ever needs help looking for a house. A few days later Sydney calls Peter and asks him if he wants to go out for fish tacos. Peter happily agrees, and the two have a wonderful night. A few days later the two meet up again and walk around the boardwalk together. Soon the two are hanging out almost every day, and they soon learn of a shared love they have of the band Rush. Another montage occurs, with the two going out to eat all the time and playing along with Rush songs in Sydney’s man-cave.

Peter invites Sydney to his engagement party, where Zooey and Sydney finally meet each other. The party does not end well, however, because Sydney makes a toast in which he alludes that Zooey should do more with Peter sexually. There’s a specific thing he’s alluding to, but I’m not saying that here. Zooey is, of course, pissed at Peter, because he told Sydney this in confidence at their first dinner together. Soon after, Sydney, Peter, Zooey, and her friend Hailey go golfing together, which also ends badly when Hailey hits Sydney in the leg with a golf ball and then gets yelled at by other golfers to speed things up. Peter and Zooey arrive back at their house, irritable and arguing, when Peter gets a call from Sydney telling him that Rush is playing an underground concert nearby. Peter takes Zooey, who is incredibly weirded out by how friendly Sydney and Peter seem to be.

A few days later Peter and Sydney are shopping for tuxedos, and Sydney keeps taking photos of Peter doing ridiculous James Bond poses while Peter talks about the arguments him and Zooey have been getting in. Sydney sympathizes and questions why Zooey is the one for him. And other than knowing that he loves her, Peter really can’t answer. Sydney then asks if he can borrow around $8,000 from Peter for an investment opportunity. Peter is skeptical because he needs the money for the investment opportunity. While Sydney helps Peter with his suit, we are reintroduced to Doug, who calls Peter a whore for not calling him after their night together. I believe he also says that when he kissed Peter he thought he felt love, but it was actually the taste of betrayal. Peter then hastily explains what just happened to Sydney, who is now incredibly confused. He also promises him the money and asks Sydney to be his best man. Sydney says yes right away, and the two hug in front of a waterfall, while Doug walks by and calls Peter a whore again. You’ll notice I haven’t been writing down my favorite jokes, but it’s only because they’re all very situationally based and hard to explain. It is, nonetheless, a very funny movie.

As they walk down the boardwalk, Peter and Sydney run into Lou Ferrigno and Tevin Downey, who is now in charge of selling Lou Ferrigno’s house because Lou Ferrigno is sick of waiting for Peter to get the job done. Sydney. in an attempt to be there for his friend, attacks the former bodybuilder and Hulk actor. Lou immediately puts him in a sleeper hold. Later that day, Peter and Zooey are arguing because he promised Sydney the money without consulting her, and Peter asks her why the two of them are getting married. She leaves, understandably pissed off. The next day Peter heads to work and notices a long stretch of billboards with ridiculous photos of him bare-chested, in a banana hammock, and dressed as James Bond, among others. Peter is pissed, and goes to Sydney’s house demanding that he take down the billboards. He then says that Sydney has been disrupting his relationship with Zooey, and he wants to spend some time apart.

Peter goes to Denise’s house, where Zooey is staying, and they reconcile. She says that he had seemed so confident about everything that her insecurities about the wedding didn’t bother her as much. He tells her that he loves her because she wants him to have his own life as well, and has been supportive from the start. Another montage begins as the wedding planning commences. Sydney is just downright depressed, and Peter is sad as well, as he searches once again for a best man. He also discovers that the billboards were extremely beneficial, convincing Lou Ferrigno to get back in business with him as well as attracting numerous new clients. On the day of the wedding, we get to meet Peter’s groomsmen, which include his brother Robbie, his father, voice-crack Lonnie, Doug, Lou Ferrigno, and Mel Stein. Zooey notices a sadness in Peter’s eyes. and calls Sydney, who shows up at the last minute and reconciles with Peter. And then the movie ends! There’s also a bit during the credits where Peter and Sydney sing Rush songs with the wedding band. There are a lot of jokes I didn’t touch on, and a lot of background details I didn’t mention. But it’s a great movie, and I’ll cover some other miscellaneous thoughts below.

  • This was billed as the first true bromance comedy. I’d argue that’s not entirely the case, as Hot Fuzz and Superbad both came out two years prior. But I guess in the respect that the bromance is the true focus of this movie, that is accurate.
  • I love Paul Rudd, and I believe I’ve made that known. But one of the main reasons I love this movie is that it’s a melding of all of my favorite things. Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Jon Favreau, J.K. Simmons, Lou Ferrigno. What a great cast! There’s even a pre-Brooklyn Nine-Nine teaming of Andy Samberg and Joe Lo Truglio! The members of the band Rush, including the late Neil Peart, cameo as themselves. There are multiple jokes about the movie The Princess Bride. Also, the soundtrack is incredible, and would still be incredible even if it didn’t include two songs from Vampire Weekend, which is one of my all-time favorite bands. Which is also cool considering that Rashida Jones went on to have a child with the lead singer, Ezra Koenig.
  • I’m not a huge fan of cringe humor, because I go through my fair share of awkward situations already. But Paul Rudd excels in this, giving one of the most awkward performances I’ve ever seen.
  • And the main reason this movie is terrific is that it’s a hilarious spin on the romantic comedy. You’re presented Zooey and Peter’s relationship as fully formed, and you don’t need to question their love. So you get to watch Peter and Sydney’s friendship blossom and struggle through the tropes of a romantic comedy. Which is incredibly brilliant. You fully believe in the platonic love these two men share, mostly because the two of them are such good friends in real life.
  • Just watch the movie. I probably didn’t do a great job selling you on it, but it’s a delight, and there aren’t nearly as many weird American Pie-esque jokes as there are in Role Models.

Overall Rating: 8/10(Even though I said that Role Models might be my favorite, I think some of the jokes hold it back for me, and this is just super enjoyable.)
Rudd Rating: 10/10(You gotta love him. He’s almost always the best part of his movies, and he really plays the exact opposite of the cynical jerk he played in Role Models. Watch the movie!)

Coming this Monday I plan to post my most current Ruddtrospective yet. This weekend I plan to go see Ghostbusters: Afterlife, in which Paul Rudd plays the ridiculously named small-town teacher Gary Grooberson. I’m a bit skeptical about a few elements of this movie, namely that Josh Gad is voicing a ghost. I don’t like Josh Gad. He’s the James Corden of America. But I’m excited to see it, and I’m sure that the sexy beard Paul Rudd is sporting will soothe my inhibitions. So look forward to that spoiler-free review on Monday!

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