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Why Every Adult Should Watch I Love You, Man


You know what's better than having a great best friend? That best friend being Jason Segel or Paul Rudd. I Love You, Man is almost a decade old but that doesn't stop it from holding up as a wonderfully lovable comedy. Featuring a star-studded cast, it presents what's now my favourite onscreen pairing for a buddy comedy in the last ten years.


Paul Rudd plays Peter, newly engaged and just realising he has the same problem a lot of us do: he has no friends. Devoting all of his free time in life to whatever relationship he's in, just like that ONE friend we all know, he faces being a Billy-no-mates at his own wedding. To start filling up the empty spots on the groomsman side of the isle and to actually find out what it's like to not spend every waking moment with your significant other (*cough* like that one friend *cough*), Peter Rudd goes on a quest for friendship. Following a few unsuccessful man dates, he meets Jason Segel's Sydney, a single and eccentric extrovert who's put off by commitment while his own friends have started their own families. Wondrous male bonding and self discovery ensues.


If there's one thing I learnt the quickest since getting out in the world as a full-time working adult, making friends is hard. I'm not talking about your cheery neighbour or that office colleague who you've mastered small talk with on the lines of "Friday, eh? Beer o'clock soon. HA HA. Ha....". I'm talking about friends you go out of your way to talk to or hang out with. Friends you're looking forward to seeing again whenever that may be, instead of worrying about what conversational topic you can cover in order to avoid an awkward silence. Friends you can truly be yourself with, the kind you tag on memes of dark humour just to brighten up their day. Those are hard to come by, and whichever of those you've got left after college or university, hold on to them tight if they're worth it. Peter's problem is that he never had any of those to begin with. He has a work friend, sure, but just like how co-workers can be in real life, he's a dick, only talking to him so that his day-to-day is slightly more tolerable. He goes fencing (that thing with thin, pointy swords) and he's friendly with the guys there but they're just being polite whilst simultaneously plotting their escape to hang out in their own interior clique.


Don't let this fool you though, it makes for some decent comedy what with Paul Rudd's socially awkward performance and the rest of the cast. It's a definitive feature length reel of "hey, I know him/her from that other thing!". J.K Simmons; Andy Samberg, Jon Faverau, Aziz Ansari, Rashida Jones, Thomas Lennon (the Identical Hand Twin), Joe Lo Truglio and even Lou Ferrigno playing himself because why not. Just Google the ones you don't know. You'll recognise them. The director, Jon Hamburg, is one I'd never heard of until this movie but he writes each character to each actor's strengths and directs them the same way. Each performance feels familiar but lovable as if these cast members were reprising these roles for a sequel, being refined for the best comedic delivery possible.


Jason Segel deserves his own paragraph because he's Jason Segel. As Sydney, he represents everything Peter isn't, being comfortably single while Peter's social life has been solely based on his relationship. Peter also represents everything Peter has been missing out on: drinking, playing guitar and quality banter. Delivered with Segel's lovable warmth, Sydney's confidence and honesty teaches Peter to enjoy expressing himself, sharing his passions and being able to openly talk about what normally makes him uncomfortable.
Seeing what Sydney brings to Peter's world, comparing the before and after makes you see yourself in one or the other. Almost anyone can relate to Peter being unable to talk about sex with his family or those he doesn't know well because it's "too personal". Sydney politely hits back with the fact that it's something we all think about, even on the smallest level, so why should we filter it? It's a big part of our lives. I Love You, Man works as a reminder that no matter the issue; sharing your problems with someone, expressing how you feel, will always help, even if they're an outsider.


It's amazing how certain people can bring out different sides to you, those you may have forgotten about or didn't know you even had had. I Love You, Man also nails in comedic fashion how a best mate can be that smiling pillar of support you need, allowing yourself to just be a total idiot every once in a while. One of the best sequences in the film is a montage of friendship goodness as Sydney gets added to Pete's monotonous daily routine as a whirlwind Segel-esque glee, one of him yelling in passionate support for his friend, just like when your bestie yells at that idiot in the club for spilling a drink on you and not apologising. This is all sandwiched between shots of the two friends jamming out to Rush songs. It has aged a little, and might be a little cheesy by today's standards, but it's still satisfying. The Rudd-Segel chemistry could get a smile out of anyone and make you wish you had a bro-ship like theirs in real life - the wind beneath your wings that you oh so deserve.

Final Thoughts

With so many films having beaten the relationship comedy genre to death with a bat covered in barbed wire, I Love You, Man stills feels as fresh and as relevant as ever, years after its initial release. With dating apps becoming the norm as the easiest way to find someone to post engagement pictures with, coming across that new perfect best friend is the adult life equivalent to finding a unicorn. Just like the metaphor itself, I Love You, Man is a unique comedy that features relationships that aren't romantic, but shows that friendships are just as meaningful, if not more so. Carried by great writing and two of the most delightful actors in comedy, this is a light yet charming classic purely of what it is to have a true best friend. 

 
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