I Love You, Man (US - BD)
Gabe fights Lou Ferrigno, slaps the bass to Rush, and projectile vomits...
Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) is a real estate salesman who has just asked his girlfriend Zooey (Rashida Jones) to marry him. She accepts, and everything looks good, until she realizes he doesn’t have a male friend to act as best man. Determined to change this Peter is sent on a series of ‘man-dates’, but he doesn’t click with any of his would-be best friends. Then, during a showing of Lou Ferrigno’s mansion, Peter meets Sydney (Jason Segel)—a quirky, outgoing, and funny guy with seemingly too much time on his hands. It’s man-love at first sight.
I Love You, Man is a sweet natured, feel good comedy with just enough crude humour to keep things from devolving into saccharin slop. The humour is largely character driven, and the characters are natural, and largely likeable. The characters occasionally act in a childish manner, but are overall realistic in their representation of modern adults, and are uncannily relatable. Personally, I think I related a little too much to Peter, and I wouldn’t mind being friends with Sydney. I’d also like to marry Rashida Jones. Ahem. Anyway, the film isn’t subversive, but it is peppered with original touches that make the experience more than an average giggle. The recurring themes of Lou Ferrigno, Rush, Peter’s would-be friend Barry’s (Jon Favreau) mean spiritedness, Peter’s brother Robbie’s (Andy Samberg) masculine homosexuality, and Peter’s problems with saying cool things are all elements that separate the film from an already overcrowded marketplace.
Thirty-something bawdy comedies are falling into a major rut of similar plots, gags, and faces. At this point it seems like two or three small groups of writers and directors make every R and PG-13 rated comedy on the marquee. I Love You Man is made by a mix of these groups, and in the end that is what makes it disposable entertainment. The story structure is so perfectly predictable it hurts. As an audience member you’re just waiting for the third act crisis to hit. The characters do feel strangely realistic, but they also fall into the exact ‘cool guy’, ‘awkward guy’, ‘hot girl’ moulds. Perhaps the strangest criticism I can muster in response to I Love You, Man is that it feels a lot like Fight Club, minus the particularly incendiary elements (and David Fincher’s visual sense). Peter isn’t as depressed as ‘Jack’, and Sydney isn’t as seductive as Tyler Durden, but both films are basically stories of modern men rediscovering manhood via impromptu friendships with man-child who waxes philosophically about the needs of manhood.
I Love You, Man doesn’t quite follow the unnaturally bright and candied template set by so many modern studio comedies. The look is probably most easily described as filmed in a naturalistic manner, using a lot of source lighting, and unassuming colours. This 1080p disc mostly looks like a really good upscaled DVD transfer, minus the extra added compression problems and major edge-enhancement. The colours are more solid than a DVD could probably muster, but aren’t entirely clean, especially not warm hues and skin tones, which dance with compression artefacts and low-level noise. Grain is also omnipresent, and a bit distracting against the whitest whites. Black levels are pretty much perfect, but do feature slight edge-enhancement. Details are acceptable based on the style, but again, not entirely impressive.
I’m assuming no one was expecting audio fury out of I Love You, Man, so I’m assuming no one will be disappointed when they notice how thin this Dolby TrueHD track is. The mix isn’t entirely flat, the slightly too loud dialogue features a natural tone, and there are some aural textures throughout, but one doesn’t come away with the feeling that the real world has been captured by the sound team. Surprisingly even the musical tracks aren’t particularly impressive. Even Rush in concert is pretty underwhelming volume-wise, though the surround channel audience is neat enough. The LFE picks up a bit during the concert scene, but is relatively bare on the whole. Still, I’m really not complaining. My expectations were really low.
Extras start with an enjoyable and amusing commentary featuring director John Hamburg, and actors Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. The thrust of the track is about as predictable as the film itself, but features some good bits of behind the scenes information, including a rather sad fact concerning the house they called Ferrigno’s (it was all just more movie magic). Rudd and Segel score big points for impersonating the old Pace Picante ads (‘This was made in New York City’ ‘New York City?!’). An all and all pleasant and personal time with the creative types.
‘The Making of I Love You, Man’ (17:30, HD) appears to be a made for television (all the bad language is bleeped and there aren’t any major spoilers) behind the scenes EPK. The focus is mostly on select actors that happened to be on set during the EPK production, and on a few random scenes that don’t really have anything in common, including the vomiting scene, the Lou Ferrigno attack scene, the Rush concert scene. The subject matter is rather sporadic, and a lot of the run time is padded with footage from the film, but the pace is quick and the tone is entertaining.
There’s a whole lot of deleted footage filling out the rest of the disc, a ‘problem’ that arises out of the largely improvisational production style. These start with the extended scenes (12:40, HD), of which there are six, including the entirety of Rush’s ‘Limelight’ live. Then there are three deleted sequences (03:30, HD), including a rugby game, a gay bowling league game, and some wedding photography. Under the ‘Extras’ (22:30, HD) menu are nine collections of alternate take jokes, which are pretty much the most screamingly funny thing on the disc. Things end with a gag reel (and behind the scenes montage, 11:30, HD), and the red band trailer (02:50, HD).
I Love You, Man is an exceedingly pleasant experience, but it’s also exceedingly predictable, and in effect, exceedingly forgettable. It’s surely worth a single viewing if you have 104 extra minutes in your day, or see it on a plane, and the extras are filled with amusing alternate takes and bloopers. I just personally don’t see myself ever watching it again. The A/V quality on the BD isn’t particularly mind-blowing or even noteworthy either way.
* Note: The images on this page are not representative of the Blu-ray release.
Review by Gabriel Powers
Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian
Release Date: 11th August 2009
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, and French
Extras: Director/Actor Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Extended Scenes, Gag Reel, Making of I Love You Man, Extras, Red Band Trailer
Easter Egg: No
Director: John Hamburg
Cast: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, J. K. Simmons, Jane Curtin, Jaime Pressly, Andy Samberg
Length: 104 minutes
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