Monday, March 30, 2009
FILM REVIEW: I Love You, Man
If you watch this bromantic comedy, you'll see the similarities that Paul Rudd and Jason Segel's relationship have with non-platonic relationships in romantic comedies. Check them out:
• The Meet Cute: In most rom-coms, the leads always meet in some convenient way. In The Wedding Planner, Mathew McConaughey saves Jennifer Lopez from a rogue garbage tank that's hurtling towards her as she tries to pull her Gucci shoe out of a sewer grate. The meet cute can also be super simple, like when Parker Posey meets her French beau at a friend's party in Broken English. In this bromantic film, Rudd and Segel meet at a realty open house. Segel impresses him with the ability to spot a douche who's pretending he wants to buy the huge mansion in order to impress some hot blonde. Rudd is truly amused by him and they exchange business cards.
• The First Call: The best nervous attempt at calling someone after meeting them the night before, or simply hours before, has to be from He's Just Not That Into You. Ginnifer Goodwin plays a girl who arguably loses her mind during a 60-second voicemail message. It was epic. Rudd was also super nervous about calling Segel after they first met. He practiced and paced around his cubicle. And when he finally left a message, it was tragically humiliating, topped off with a horrendous attempt at a cool sign-off.
• All-night chat sessions: The best rom-coms involve couples actually having conversations instead of simply falling in love with smiles and pratfalls. Truth About Cats and Dogs has by far the longest dialogue between future lovers that I've seen, but HJNTIY has the most revealing. Rudd and Segel's first man-date involved tacos, beer, and several hours of drunken conversation.
• Long walks on the beach: Alright, so this is more of a turn-on that centerfolds were famous for mentioning, but it can be used to set the scene for romanticism, like in Monster-in-Law. These boys spent most of their time hanging out on the boardwalk near the beach, with the sunset as a backdrop.
• Picking their song: Couples usually have their signature song. Whether it's the first one they danced to, the one that was playing in the bar/nightclub they met at, or the one that defines their relationship. Such a topic usually pops up during wedding planning, and it can even be disputed at times. But there was no doubt that these gents had an entire soundtrack, which was provided by the Canadian rock band Rush. They reenacted a lot of the songs for fun in their man cave (the shed behind Segel's house), and even performed the songs at the wedding reception.
• Marathon phone conversations: This is not the same as all-night chat sessions. These are the pointless conversations and texts that involve recapping the evening's events for no purpose whatsoever. Rudd's wife-to-be was particularly perturbed that Segel felt the need to do that on the one day of the week that was specifically scheduled for her.
• Changing for the better: Most rom-coms involve a woman changing a man into what she wants or a man changing himself into what he thinks the woman of his dreams wants. Rarely does the girl do the changing, but when she does, it's a head-to-toe makeover a la She's All That. These boys helped each other grow. Segel helped Rudd get in touch with his inner manly man, and Rudd helped Segel connect to people on a deeper level.
• Romantic Montages: I kind of have a love-hate relationship with romantic montages. It's good, because there's proof that they fell in love over time, but it sucks because they're skipping right through it. Their bromance was highlighted by their mid-afternoon jam sessions and Rudd riding on the back of Segel's moped through the city.
• Meeting the Parents...and Humiliating Yourself: Meet the Parents isn't really a rom-com. If anything, it's a buddy film between Ben Stiller and Robert DeNiro. But that entire film is what every significant other dreads before getting the a-o-k from the 'rents. Monster-in-Law, of course, was the worst-case scenario. Jane Fonda's character almost killed J.Lo's with a major allergic reaction the day before her wedding. Segel's parental meltdown wasn't as dramatic, but it was in fact unbelievably humiliating...for Rudd. When he met his parents at the rehearsal dinner, he had the audacity to make a toast to the happy couple with a side note about how Rudd's fiancee should give him sexual favors if she really loves him.
• The Jealous Ex: Running into an ex-lover while you're on a date is never not awkward. You don't know if you should introduce them or pretend like you don't even see them. And there's always a chance that they'd be willing to duke it out with your present beau, like Hugh Grant did with Colin Firth in Bridget Jones' Diary, in order to win you back, albeit unsuccessfully. Thomas Lennon ("Reno 911" and 17 Again) plays a gay guy Rudd's mom accidentally sets him up with for a man-date. Rudd eventually explains that he's not gay, but Lennon gets extremely offended when he catches him shopping for a tux with Segel. He assumes that the two of them are getting married and some of the funniest scenes are derived from that jealousy. One word: "Whore!"
• Dramatic Proposal: Most of the time male leads never specifically ask their female lead to marry them. It's usually implied when they tell them that they love them and then they cut to the wedding scene or a happily ever after, like in Enchanted, 27 Dresses, 13 Going on 30, and Maid of Honor. These boys had their own moment of romantic declaration when Rudd asks Segel to be his best man in front of a glamorous fountain.
• Lovers Spat: In the middle of every rom-com is a major argument that can stand to destroy any chance of the love birds ever getting together. Most of the time it's trust-related, like in Wedding Date when Dermot Mulroney doesn't tell Debra Messing that her ex is sleeping with her sister, or when Isla Fisher fails to tell Hugh Dancy that's she's majorly in debt in Confessions of a Shopaholic. Their climatic argument involved Segel accusing Rudd of just using him to be his best man, and Rudd accusing Segel of using him because he's lonely.
• Declaration of Love: Much like the proposal, these are usually grand gestures, but they happen more often. They have to be grand in order to negate all of the animosity developed during the argument. If Drew Barrymore didn't write that touching article in Never Been Kissed, Michael Vartan wouldn't have finally told her how he felt, and if Heath Ledger didn't make an ass out of himself on the bleachers to win over Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate About You, he never would've melted the ice around her cold heart. These gents had the audacity to not only say "I love you" to each other at the altar with Rashida standing beside them, but repeated it more than once in succession.
You could argue that this is one of the best bromantic, rom-com spoofs yet to be written, but that's probably only because there are hardly that many in its rare genre. So if you want to see two guys fall in love (sort of), watch I Love You, Man.