Sunday, March 29, 2009

A fine bromance

All in all, I Love You, Man is a pretty bad movie.

This is said wearing my objective-critical-thinking-I-don't-want-to-assume-any-liabilities-for-anyone-actually-paying-to-go-see-it hat. I don't think I Love You, Man can be defended on serious aesthetic grounds.

But I admit -- I sort of liked it.

You know the story if you've seen even one of the trailers: Paul Rudd (whom I admit to having a bit of a man-crush on) is a metero guy without other guy friends. So he goes about trying to make them. Enter Jason Segel, good natured schlub. Let the bromance bloom.

The biggest problem with the movie, as my friend Noah said was that it was more cringe-inducing than laugh-inducing. (I refrained from taking the schlubette to see the movie -- this is one to be seen with another dude.)

Jon Faverau has a small role, and the thing that came to both Noah's and my mind was the scene in Swingers when he leaves the unending stream of messages on a girl's voicemail -- demolishing any chance he might have had with her in one painful, 5 minute stretch. That was a cringe-inducing scene, to be sure (heartbreaking, in its way) but it was one of only two or three cringe-worthy bits in Swingers.

I Love You, Man made you cringe for almost the entire movie. Rudd has an almost autistic quality towards other guys -- he can't figure them out and when he tries to fit in, he only stands out in his cluelessness.

In one sense, the movie does talk about something that you don't see very often -- the odd friendships between guys.

There's one scene in which Rudd goes out to dinner with a prospective friend, has a good time, and then stands there helplessly his erstwhile friend make a pass at him.

Of course, you could see this coming a mile away (you knew that there was going to be some homosexual pass made at Rudd during the course of this movie), but there was something sort of recognizable about this. It's a very weird thing making a friend. You never know quite what the other dude wants from you -- and it sometimes crosses your mind that he will make a pass at you (which, I'm happy to report, has never happened to me).

Certainly, Judd Apatow has portrayed this (more, I think, in The 40-Year Old Virgin than in Knocked Up). But there is often a strange veil that exists between friends, that does sort of have the tension of dating. The rules of friendship are often murky and unknowable. I've confided things in my guy friends that I would never tell a girlfriend -- and vice versa. In this sense, ILYM should have something relevant to say.

That never quite happened. I'm not going to say I didn't have a good time with I Love You, Man -- I'm just not sure I'd ever call again.