There is a very simple reason that I loved this movie as much as I did.
It made me smile.
God, it's nice to say that about a comedy again. This year, with the exception of some greats like Role Models and Sex Drive, there's been nothing original about comedies. They're all the same. Simple. Formula. Cliché. Stupid.
Well, John Hamburg's I Love You, Man maybe cliché, but it takes the classic romantic comedy formula and does something different with it. This is the first time I've seen a RomCom where all the forumlaic steps are followed, but applied to "dudes". That's right, it's got every single step necessary for a great romantic comedy, but instead of a heterosexual man and woman, we have two heterosexual men. It's boy meets boy, boy gets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy back. Also, boy is getting married to girl.
Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd) is a real nice guy. A real nice guy. Girls love him, because he's such a nice guy. He grew up moving around a lot for his father's work, and as a result, has no real close male friends. But, he's always been good with women, romancing them with success. Finally, he meets the one: Zooey (Rashida Jones). He proposes, all is wonderful, and the two are happy as can be. At least, until Peter overhears Zooey telling her friends that she is afraid that he doesn't really have real male friends. She jokes that it may be his mother up there on the altar for his best man.
This hits Peter hard, mostly because it's true. So, the plot unfolds. Peter needs to find a best man for his wedding so he doesn't end up friendless and clingy to his wife for the rest of time. Not to mention he works in real estate, and has to sell Lou Ferrigno's house before his jerky coworker gets the assignment.
Then along comes Sydney Fife (Jason Segel) and things begin to change for Peter. Sydney is just what Peter needs in his life; someone to help him loosen up, enjoy life, and, hell, even experience it. It's easy for Sydney to do this, since he just might be the most likable person on the entire planet. That is the number one reason this movie is good. You'd have to be crazy to not want a best friend like Sydney Fife. The movie should be called, The Adventures of Sydney Fife: Number One Coolest Guy Ever.
This movie made me smile for two reasons. For one, as I said, it took the old romantic comedy genre and gave it a spin. But the second reason, and the most important, is that it leaves you with a message, and one that is very, very important.
Sydney Fife is the ultimate model of what people should be. I'm not saying people should be nearly as extreme as him, but they should try to emulate what he stands for. With this character, we see someone so incredibly in tune with who they are, that it makes you happy. You want to be just like him. You want to do the funny little things that he does, just because he wants to. You want to feel as secure as Sydney Fife. He does what makes him happy, another prominent theme from Rudd's previous movie, Role Models.
In order for Sydney Fife to work, you have to have just the right person to play him. And in Jason Segel, they have found that perfect person (and we don't even have to look at his penis!). He's funny, he's witty, and he's lovable. It's only now I'm understanding how much Segel has to offer. He's kind of like Johnny Depp; he changes himself completely for every role. He's not the same as he is in Knocked Up, or Forgetting Sarah Marshall, or even Undeclared. This is a guy worth watching.
Now I don't want to give him all the credit. Like Role Models, this movie is superbly acted by almost everyone. Paul Rudd just might be the most charming guy on the planet. In retrospect, while I loved Segel's character the most, Rudd made me laugh the hardest. Watch him as he stumbles through his sentences in the movie over and over again. Priceless.
Honorable mention also goes to Rashida Jones, of course. She's so adorable that you fall in love with her just as much as Peter. She's incredibly likable, and she doesn't ever seem like she is acting. Jon Favreau, Jo Lo Truglio, Thomas Lennon and Andy Samberg will also find a place in your memories once you have seen this movie. Aziz Ansari and Nick Kroll pop up too, but unfortunately we don't see too much of them. Carla Gallo even makes an appearance, but she literally doesn't have one line. Strange.
There's almost nothing I can say about this movie that is negative. John Hamburg really nailed this one. I hope all of you can go out and find your Sydney Fife, or, if you already have, go be one.
What the world needs now, and especially today, is Sydney Fife.