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DreamWorks Pictures

Guys and doll

Movies | Comedy features two male friends and a girl without personality

Issue: "The schools that Arne built," April 11, 2009

Sometimes the gross out humor in a romantic comedy can be written off as a concession to the men dragged into the theater by female counterparts. In the case of I Love You, Man, it just seems gratuitous. From the beginning, the R-rated film revels in raunchy and explicit humor. The jokes are aggressive and not very funny.

Both the protagonists in this romantic comedy are male, but it's not a gay romance. After proposing to his girlfriend Zoe (Rashida Jones), Peter (Paul Rudd) realizes that he's spent so much time and energy on his relationships with women that he never bothered to make any lasting male friendships. This becomes a problem when Peter realizes the ultimate of matrimonial horrors-his wedding party might be lopsided-and decides to find a new best friend.

In his quest to find a best man, Peter sets off on a series of "man dates" often arranged by his gay brother Robbie (Andy Samburg). The cringe-inducing moments initiated by Peter's awkwardness and the oddness of the men he meets slowly subside when he meets Sydney (Jason Segel), a friendly overgrown child who is similarly suffering from a dearth of male companionship.

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Once the film settles into its main storyline-the growing friendship between Peter and Sydney-many of its most irritating efforts fall away. Segel has mastered the demeanor of an aging slacker, and Rudd hits his stride in a few key improvisational scenes.

The real missed opportunity in I Love You, Man is that no one bothered to write the role of Zoe a personality. Jones is cute enough, but when Sydney asks why Peter is ending his long string of monogamous relationships to marry her, his answer is far from convincing. It seems that one time, he really enjoyed watching Johnny Depp's Chocolat with her. In the realm of buddy comedy, that appears to be as good as it gets.

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