Monday, March 23, 2009

Nog Gets "Bromantic" With I Love You, Man!

So I’ll admit I’m a sucker for this new genre of raunchy “bromantic comedies.” It will fizzle out soon, likely, but at the moment even the lesser ones are far more entertaining than most other comedies you’ll find at the multiplex right now (sappy chick flicks; the endless strain of Disaster Movie/Date Movie/Epic Movie drivel; and Tyler Perry movies!).

I Love You, Man is the logical, inevitable culmination of the recent “bromances”: this time the central relationship between the two “dudes” plays out exactly like the stereotypical boy/girl romantic comedies (they meet cute, they “fall” for each other, they “break up,” they reunite). It’s moderately clever and generally very well-performed. Paul Rudd has become the go-to guy for the endearingly goofy but square role (he’s essentially the same dude here and in Knocked Up and in Role Models, but it still works…what straight guy wouldn’t want to party with him at a Rush concert, very heterosexually). Jason Segel steps comfortably into the crude slacker role (often filled by Seth Rogen in these films). And the supporting cast is sharp, keeping things afloat even when the film overplays its running jokes.

But why are these movies so popular right now? Part of it is simple enough, I think: the combination of raunch and sweetness is capable of drawing in both a male and female audience. But I also think these films get at certain “realities” (about relationships, gender expectations, etc) that don’t really get explored in what has become the pure fantasy-land of chick-centered romantic comedies. I’m not sure where the genre is headed, but maybe it’s got a little life left in it yet, and apparently it’s starting to trickle out of the mainstream and into the indie-world, where it will get a little “edgier”: one of the Sundance hits this year is called Humpday and concerns two straight male friends who decide to make an “art project” in which they sleep with each other. I think it’s safe to say Humpday will not appeal to the fratty audience currently cracking up at I Love You, Man.


  1. Nice opening riff. Yeah, I find some pictures made for and marketed to Women to be rather insulting. I have to confess that I do appreciate certain especially escapist moments (those involving shoes or hair or Jeffrey Dean Morgan), but finally they just aren't very interesting _films_ (even as fantasies) (MOMMA MIA, SEX AND THE CITY, P.S. I LOVE YOU, and especially the terrible remake of THE WOMEN). I'm not exactly mad about the bromance, but I love that the characters talk the way people talk. I love that the (straight) dudes are vulgar and honest and invent websites that already exist documenting female nude scenes in movies. LOL At least these characters are true to life -- I don't know any women who behave like Sarah Jessica Parker et al. (And I'm kind of happy not to.) In which movie does Paul Rudd play the mad surfer? FORGETTING SARAH MARSHAL? He was brilliant. But he's always brilliant. (Except in HALLOWEEN 6: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS.) But SARAH MARSHALL didn't really appeal to me otherwise. And SUPERBAD was a riot in the theatre, but something of a dud on home video. I remember KNOCKED UP rather fondly. I like about 1/3 of PINEAPPLE EXPRESS. Given this history, I may wait and catch I LOVE YOU, MAN on DVD -- the title actually sounds like a parody of the sub-genre, LOL! I wonder if that's intentional. Finally, I can't speak for the frats, but I'm down for HUMPDAY -- it sounds like the bromance I've been waiting for.

  2. I agrew with Matthew. HUMPDAY sounds delightful. But then I am also, thankfully, not a frat boy.

    I thought I LOVE YOU MAN was very funny. The more I think about it, the more I have decided I like it. I even want to see it again, which is rare for me and the bromance in general. This writing is predictable and formulaic (in that is copies the typical romantic comedy formula, which is actually hilarious), but you're right, the performances make the sometimes-lackluster writing work somehow.


  3. Beth, you also saw Pineapple a few times (that's "bromantic," right?). But of course you also have a thing for Franco and Samberg!

    And I still don't think you should write off "Adventureland" just yet! (or at least not without seeing the director's first film, Daytrippers, which is about as different from Superbad as can be).

    Matthew: I haven't seen Rudd's work in Halloween 6!

  4. No need to rush it to the top of your Netflix queue, but if you ever catch it on television or something, it might be fun just to see how. . .bizarre. . .Paul Rudd is, LOL! I mean, he plays kind of a weird character, but still. . .I don't know. I didn't know what to make of that performance. But Beth's right otherwise: _today_ Rudd can make any line of dialogue work. If you don't believe me, just watch I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN, in which he stars opposite <3 Michelle Pfeiffer <3 -- he transforms that script in only the way that Paul Rudd can.

  5. Frat Guy here...what exactly differentiates the "bromance" from the "buddy" movie of old? Isn't a vehicle like "Lethal Weapon" the same as "I Love You, Man," just with an "action" plot and not a plot focused on "relationships"? Is that the difference, that the majority of these plots focus on "domestic" matters rather than the bromance blooming in the midst of a drug bust ("Running Scared") or transporting a prisoner ("Midnight Run") or other stereotypically masculine activities?