The High Countries

because it’s all paperweight…

I Love You, Man (2009)

Peter (Paul Rudd, left) and Sydney (Jason Segel, right) rock out to Rush in the Man Cave.

Peter (Paul Rudd, left) and Sydney (Jason Segel, right) rock out to Rush in the Man Cave.

I Love You Too, Man

by Bryce VanKooten

For most in this country, it may never happen at all. But for the few million who happen to live in LA — this hotbed of fanfare and traffic — I suppose it a bit more attainable. I’m still getting use to the fact that it’s feasible to see movies before their release. And the opportunity to shoot the breeze with the Director after the film just comes as an added bonus I guess; the ala mode, if you will. Either way, when I got the invite to Brown University’s alumni screening of John Hamburg’s I Love You, Man (Hamburg is an alum), I jumped at the opportunity. Seeing a movie four weeks before its release is like talking to the starting quarterback before the big game: you’re as close to affecting the movie’s process as you can be without actually affecting anything. It’s the little dose of thrill we all need. I hope I never get used to it.

Hamburg — who wrote Zoolander, Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers [coming soon: Meet the Little Fockers] and wrote/directed Along Came Polly has an enviable career, to say the least. He has perfect style and the ability to convey reality in a witty and original way. “I just wanted the film to look and act as real as possible. I wanted the characters to be people we all knew and not just [guys and girls] saying cliché jokes”, he recalls. I Love You, Man is a smart satire. Nailed it.

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We nearly missed the movie, actually. My friend and I sat in the wrong theater on the Paramount lot for about 20 minutes before we realized we were in the wrong theater. When we finally sprinted to the right one, the curtains pulled to reveal what we all needed: guy and girl find another guy – the perfect spin to the romantic comedy.

The movie opens with Peter (Paul Rudd) proposing to Zooey (The Office’s Rashida Jones). The very next scene takes us on the car ride home where Rashida calls her best gal pals to tell them of the wonderful news. We soon realize that Peter has never had a best guy friend. This poses a problem for the wedding. Who’s going to play the Best Man? Throw in Peter’s younger, gay brother Robby (Andy Samberg) — who’s best friends with his father (hilarious) — a terrific supporting cast, including Jon Favreau and Jaime Pressly as the venomous, bickering married friends and you’ve got yourself a fantastic hour and a half.

There were quite a few scenes worth noting, but of course, I’d never dream of spoiling the surprise. In the end, the poker table scene takes the cake – in an array of drinking games, male bonding and an inexperienced drinker – as the hardest I laughed (or cringed). But there are other moments that are guaranteed good times, including Rudd’s air-guitaring ‘slappa da bay-eez’ and any moment Peter’s new found friend Doug (Reno 911’s Thomas Lennon) shows up. I repeat: Thomas Lennon = hilarious.

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Rudd’s dedication to his character’s emphasis on this new found friendship (he wants it to work so badly!) provides much of the film’s laughs. Even after the film, Hamburg revealed, “I knew when I wrote the script I wanted Paul in the lead. There are certain lines that only Paul can say.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Paul Rudd finds the perfect balance between apologetic awkwardness and consistent hilarity. And as it turned out later, his awkward appeal was only spurred on by the crew surrounding him. “In the scene when we were filming Paul’s goodbye to Sydney”, Hamburg recalls, “we knew that Paul was going to say ‘see ya city slicker’ or something random and awkward like that, but I couldn’t help it. Once we got rolling, we just left him out there. We must have done forty-two takes of that signoff — him walking out the door saying anything that came to mind, each time getting longer and more awkward. He was dying. We were all laughing. I think it turned out really well.”

Not to be outdone was the rest of the film’s cast. Rashida Jones fit perfectly in the role of Peter’s fiancé and Jason Segel – who ruined comedy for me when he penned last year’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall (only to have it resurrected by Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder) – managed to regain some strength with his normal, all-too-familiar portrayal of everyman’s friend, Sydney Fife. Fife is the guy every man hopes to have – honest, easy going, plays an instrument – and the best man most men end up with – loose-lipped, unpredictable, but by your side.

Amidst all the puke, pillow talk and premarital shenanigans in this homo/hetero-nuetral parade, there are some redeeming moments in this colorful tale of romantic reality. A lesson in love, this film manages to tell a new story with a nice twist on the fairytale ending. In a genre often lost to poo, potty and porking, I Love You, Man is the friend we all need: fun.

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February 25, 2009 Posted by | Entertainment, Film Reviews, Movies, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Whole Package

Get Out of My ‘Offive’

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There’s talk around the town about an Office spin-off. Are you kidding me? It isn’t on tap to start until sometime after the 09 Super Bowl, but frankly, whenever its scheduled is far too soon. Yes, The Office is a nearly-as-good-but-not-quite-as-epic spin off of the UK version (by the same name), starring the irreplaceable Ricky Gervais, originally aired on the BBC. And therefore, I suppose its true; once American television gets a hold of a successful product, its only a matter of time until it is stripped of its excellence, wrought with product placement and repackaged to resemble only a glimmer from whence it came. Sadly enough, if this remake-fest begins, I’m confident America will tune in…sadly, about as long as they watched Joey.

With all this repackaged garbage bombarding our living rooms, I can’t help but think back on some of the worst repackages in the history of our culture. Ones like Freddy vs. Jason (Monster’s Inc. was more frightful), or the repackaging of an athlete, like…well, every week on Dancing with the Stars. Don’t get me wrong, Dancing with the Stars isn’t THAT bad. I can stand it for about 11 seconds, whereas I can only watch a My Name is Earl for about 10––so hey, its relative. But one thing’s clear, they’re no Planet Earth. And hey, why can’t we get another one of those?!

Regardless of preference, this ‘repackage-everything’ mentality also got me thinking of some cool things that should be repackaged. What? Let me share an example: Hulk Hogan was on the down-and-out, but THEN he got a reality show and bam! Back in the spotlight. Yeah, we know, his family is a car wreck (no pun intended) and about as glaring as Dikembe Mutumbo’s bad knees, but hey, wasn’t it fun? He was back on the proverbial track there for a couple weeks! All that to be said, what should be repackaged? We know Star Wars needed a fifth box set (Gold and Silver Editions), and there was no way Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows could skate through untouched so, why not, split it into two movies. As my mind wanders into the realms of the unknown, I dwell on the things that someday, I hope to see.

Ocean’s 18: Yeah, tell me about it. 19 isn’t as easy to hide as 11, but think of the things you could do?! Everyone split into two man tandems, executing nine different heists, all consummating to form the end of the Iraq war. Yeah, think about it.

Shaquille O’Neill to the NFL: This doesn’t even need explanation. This would be, without a doubt, the most profitable/entertaining saga to hit this planet since the life of Mike Tyson––and possibly as violent.

Aquafina Entering the Energy Drink Market: Let’s face the facts; Aquafina should just take Jerry Seinfeld’s advice and “…put enough caffeine in there to kill you … Then, back it off a little”. Call it Addict. There’s your dang drink.

Punk’d Meets Reality TV: Whenever someone wins their respective competition, curtains part to reveal Ashton Kutcher via video, on the set of his current movie, pre-recorded saying, “Uh, You got Punk’d…”. Quite frankly, this could work effectively on The Miss America Pageant.

All gag’s aside, are we not sick of this yet? Is there nothing to be said for class anymore. If have the choice to buy a jersey of my favorite team, do I go online and look for a classic jersey, the home jersey, the away jersey, the alternate jersey or the 2009 Classic version of that same classic jersey? Have we had enough? What if one day, they repackaged Britney Spears––her faith meant something, she was classy and cool, and southern and spicy? Oh…to dream for what could have been.

April 3, 2008 Posted by | Entertainment, Television | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment