June 19, 2013
Written by Mark Schumann, Father of Three
Thursday, 16 April 2009 10:48
Each week, the Reel Dad checks the nutritional value of a movie — new or classic — to help parents choose what to watch with their children. This week’s pick is the new comedy, I Love You Man.
Every parent has moments when the pride is so overwhelming that words cannot express. A special time when the achievement of a child is so great that nothing else in the world matters — just the chance to say “well done” to someone very special.
If I were a member of the family of Sarah Burns — whose parents live in Ridgefield — I would be very proud. Not only because Burns is getting real attention for her sterling supporting performance in I Love You, Man. Not only because she steals every scene she is in and you keep hoping she will return. And not only because you hope the producers make a sequel that is all about her. The pride comes from watching a professional so in control of what she can do that she makes the most of every moment. Burns is great fun to watch.
The movie, as well, is a lot of fun, a touching tale of a man’s effort to develop friendships with “the guys” before he walks down the aisle to get married. From what could have been a rather pedestrian expansion of a beer commercial moral, I Love You, Man emerges as a thought-provoking — yet totally insane and hilarious — look at how men and women treat friendships differently. While the women in the film savor their “girl time,” the men treat associations with each other as less central to their lives. This leaves the leading man, superbly played by Paul Rudd, at a loss as his wedding approaches. How can a man without male friends find a best man for the ceremony? Let alone six groomsmen? The film has a great time exploring all the ways a man can find other guys to bond with as it offers a touching moral of the importance of friendship and personal space.
Sharing the marvelous insanity with Rudd is a fabulous Jason Segel as the best buddy to end them all. Their chemistry together is reminiscent of the great days of Lemmon and Matthau. And the scenes between the women really snap, crackle and pop. As Hailey, the best friend who craves attention, longs for romance, and offers endearing support of the bride-to-be, Burns scores in the kind of smart part that, in the 1940s, would have been essayed by the great Eve Arden, the wise cracking sidekick with a deep heart. She perfectly captures the nuance of the role without trying to overplay or capture the spotlight, and is totally captivating.
Also shining in the strong cast are Jane (why can’t she make more movies) Curtin and J.K. (fresh from Juno) Simmons as Rudd’s parents. As for Rudd, well, there’s very little this deft comedian can’t handle, whether it’s the necessary physical humor, or the sentimental moments or the gross-out jokes. He is so comfortable with himself on screen that he makes it all look so very easy. Even when everything around him is insane.
What I Love You, Man is not, is a family film. It is Rated R — for good reason — so leave the kids at home and enjoy a rollicking good time. And, to the Burns family, congratulations.
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