Of all the Judd Apatow offshoots, I Love You, Man certainly ranks among the best thanks to its great lead tandem of Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. In this simple and sometimes simplistic story of a “girlfriend guy” searching for a male best friend, both actors produce a juvenile wonderment as man children yearning to let loose, drink beer, and gossip. The process for Rudd’s Peter Klaven is understandably rocky as he tightropes across the rules of the game, modern social codes, and gender biases. But Segel’s laid-back Sydney always reassures and supports him, even when Peter seems on the brink of uncomfortable social suicide.
I Love You, Man glides through standard plot points on the strength of the actor’s chemistry. The two men find solace in the notion that friendship is indeed attainable after childhood, coming in all shapes and sizes and from the strangest coincidences. The film’s main coup comes in rendering the emotional highs and lows of a typical romantic comedy somewhat moot, breaking the mold of what friendship looks like in the movies, stripping away conventional supporting player stereotypes and letting the actors free-flow their way to a dynamic relationships of all kinds. Rudd and Segel start out singing the blues, but find honesty and understanding through great improvisation.