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I Love You, Man


Stars: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, Thomas Lennon, Jaime Pressly, Sarah Burns, Jon Favreau, J K Simmons, Jane Curtin

Director: John Hamburg

Typical of the coarse, foul-mouthed, but essentially soft-centred Hollywood comedy of the 21st century, this gets tiresome at times, but, like Sydney the slob (Segel), tends to win you over towards the end. The story of the nebbish who lacks every social grace, but still retains lovable qualities, was moulded by Jerry Lewis in the 1950s and perfected by Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Here it's big, cuddly Segel, but more of that later.

The narrative centres on Peter (Rudd), a real-estate salesman who has loads of woman-friends, but, when he decides to propose to his girlfriend Zooey (Jones, daughter of composer Quincy), finds there is no one he can ask to be his best man.

Gay brother Robbie (Andy Samberg) would seem to be a candidate, but instead Peter searches unsuccessfully on the Internet for a best buddy - one candidate is an 89-year-old man - before running into Sydney, a speculator and serial event-crasher, with whom Peter finds he shares a passion for rock music.

Socially, however, Syd is an embarrassment. He lets his dog poop everywhere without scooping it up, tries to strongarm Peter's more reluctant clients, and reddens everyone's faces at the engagement party by referring to Zooey's reluctance to offer Peter oral sex (how did Peter come to tell him this?). Awful Syd may be, but when Peter relieves him of best man duties and wants him out of his life, we know where our sympathies lie.

Rudd shows up better here than in Role Models, while Segel is on the rough side as an actor, but has a personality that's hard to ignore. Best gag: when Peter tries to sell a condo belonging to TV Hulk star Lou Ferrigno. Barging in on the deal in bull-in-a-china-shop fashion, Sydney's warned: 'Don't make him angry. You won't like him when he's angry.'

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Paramount. Colour by deluxe.
104 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 12 Apr 2009