Man comedy painfully funny

Sean Buckhorn

Perhaps no man has had a greater effect on comedy films in this decade than Judd Apatow; this much is evident after watching “I Love You Man.” Though Apatow had no part in producing this movie, it contains all of the raunchy humor and formulaic plot-lines that have come to define his films. “I Love You Man” is still genuinely funny, however, thanks in large part to the pairing of Paul Rudd and Jason Segel.

“I Love You Man” is the story of Peter Klaven (Rudd), a recently engaged real-estate broker who, over the course of his life, never developed any close male friends. Spurred on by his fast-approaching wedding and fiancée Zooey (Rashida Jones of “The Office” fame), Klaven seeks out a best man, going to great lengths to make male friends.

After several painfully funny “man-dates” set up by Peter’s brother Rob (Andy Samberg) fail miserably, Klaven by meets Sydney Fife (Segel), a bullish, crass investor at an open house. They soon discover their shared passion for the band Rush, and Sydney and Peter quickly become close friends. As they spend more and more time together, Zooey becomes jealous and consequently their relationship experiences some turbulence.

The role of Sydney Fife marks a divergance of sorts for Segel, normally cast as the dopey yet lovable character in productions like “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Freaks and Geeks.” Fife, in comparison, is quirky and bold, naming his dog after the former president of Egypt and challenging Lou Ferrigno to a fight at one point in the film. Segel’s character presents a perfect contrast to the timid, awkward Klaven, and their interactions truly are the funniest, most sincere part of “I Love You Man.”

Amidst his developing friendship with Sydney, Peter attempts to sell the house of Lou Ferrigno, famous for his portrayal of the Incredible Hulk. After making little progress in selling the house, Peter’s pompous co-worker Tevin, played by Rob Huebel, attempts to steal Ferrigno away from Klaven. Huebel is perfectly suited for the role, capturing the true essence of a man who would shamelessly advertise by putting his face on urinal cakes.

In the lull before the summer blockbusters, movies generally tend to be pretty weak. “I Love You Man,” if nothing else, is a hilarious reprieve from such atrocities as “Miss March” and “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.”