"I Love You, Man" is the second movie this year – "He's Just Not That Into You" being the first – with a popular catchphrase for its title. This is one of the film's few distinctions. Although not a Judd Apatow production, it might as well be. It has the usual Apatovian ingredients: potty jokes, goofball lewdness, potty jokes, goony guys, potty jokes.
Paul Rudd plays the affably uptight Peter Klaven, a successful real estate agent in southern California who is engaged to the adoring Zooey (Rashida Jones) but frets he has no male friends. Who will be his best man at the wedding?
To rectify this lack in his life, Peter arranges, mostly through the Internet, a series of "man dates." Don't ask.
Enter Sydney Fife (Jason Segel), who shows up unplanned at Peter's real estate open house – he's trying to sell Lou Ferrigno's hillside "manse" – and proceeds to school the inept Peter in the ways of guydom. Despite Zooey's mounting exasperation, they hang out in Sydney's "man cave" – a rundown bungalow near Venice Beach – and get all slobby. "Let out your animal" is Sydney's mantra. As if we needed to be told.
As is also the case with many of the Apatow movies, this one, directed and co-written by John Hamburg, leavens its raunch with gooey dollops of sentimentality. (Is there any doubt Peter and Zooey will get married?)
Rudd is amusing enough; Segel, who towers over Rudd, is amusing, too, though the role seems to have been written for Owen Wilson. Maybe Wilson was busy. Lucky him. Grade: C+ (Rated R for pervasive language, including crude and sexual references.)