‘Love’ leaves lots of laughs to be desired


Film: I Love You, Man

Director: John Hamburg

Producers: Ivan Reitman,

Tom Pollock

Writers: Larry Levin,

John Hamburg

Starring: Paul Rudd,

Jason Segel

Runtime: 110 minutes

Rating: R

There are certain actors everyone just likes to watch. It doesn’t matter how over the top the movie is, or if it’s subpar, people enjoy seeing the likes of George Clooney and Brad Pitt do what they do best. It’s safe to say that actors Paul Rudd and Jason Segel are quickly becoming the comedic equivalent of Clooney and Pitt – they have great chemistry and are a pleasure to watch. So it’s a shame their latest, “I Love You, Man,” is one of the least funny, most boring comedies to stumble its way onto the big screen in quite some time.

Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) has always been a girlfriend guy – he’s never had a real “bromance” (for those of you who don’t know, a “bromance” is when two straight males have a very close friendship). When he proposes to his girlfriend Zooey (Rashida Jones), he realizes he has no one to be his best man. Desperate, he goes out and searches for a suitable male companion. Along the way he finds Sydney Fife (Jason Segel), an all-around man’s man. Klaven and Fife become good friends, but as the wedding draws closer, Klaven finds it difficult to balance time spent with his fiancé and his new best friend.

It’s just generally accepted that comedies should be funny, but apparently screenwriter/director John Hamburg (of “Meet the Parents” fame) and failed TV writer Larry Levin don’t understand this. There is almost zero humor in “I Love You, Man.” Their attempts at jokes are recycled to an absurd degree, especially in the case of Klaven, whose one and only joke is to mumble incoherently at the end of a conversation. Then there’s the childish reoccurring gag of Fife walking his dog and runners stepping in the dog’s feces. Apparently, the comedy is when the runners yell obscenities at him, but it wasn’t funny the first time, and it still wasn’t funny the fifth time.

These poor jokes are only enhanced by what must be one of the slowest moving films ever. It has been a long time since I pulled out my phone during a movie to check the time, but I was doing that an hour into this dud. It’s ridiculous that a comedy should have pacing problems to begin with, but Hamburg pulls it off. What really throws both the pacing and story off is a heavy reliance on montages. Any character development is distilled down to five-second clips which are strung together with little rhyme or reason. The same goes for any bonding between Klaven and Fife – it’s just one long montage done very poorly. Compare the editing in this to films like “Slumdog Millionaire” and it becomes all too clear just how terrible “I Love You, Man” is.

If I seem more frustrated than usual, it’s because the movie has an exceptionally talented cast of characters who are capable of so much more than what they’re given. It really is enjoyable to watch Rudd and Segel share the screen, even if the movie they’re in is terrible. The rest of the cast is also composed of likeable character actors and, in the case of Andy Samberg, budding comedians desperately in need of their own version of “Anchorman” or “The 40 Year Old Virgin.”

“I Love You, Man” has been labeled as a Judd Apatow comedy without Judd Apatow. Whoever said that definitely hit the nail on the head. Apatow is proving to be this generation’s most talented comedic writer, bringing not only gross-out humor to his films but a genuine sentimentality, allowing a varied audience to relate to his stories. This in no way describes “I Love You, Man.” The gross-out humor fails and any attempt to make the movie feel heart-felt falls flat.

So far, 2009 hasn’t been a great year for comedies, and “I Love You, Man” doesn’t help. You’ll get just as many laughs, if not more, from watching the trailers for “Observe and Report” and “Funny People,” which is something I recommend over going to see this flick.