It takes real skill to turn a sequence of projectile vomit into a momentum shifter. I Love You Man begins with some light, meandering character development as we learn about Peter Klaven’s (Paul Rudd) male friend issues. It is mildly funny and raunchy, and then Jon Favreau takes beer puke like a champ right in his face. The movie never slows down from there.
The much used term “bromance” may already be tiresome but wholly appropriate. Rudd is not charismatic or energized, not due to his own style but because Klaven is laid back and proper. He sells the comedy with timing, clever facial expressions, and undoubtedly improv.
To make up for this lack of energy is Sidney (Jason Segel), a charismatic guy who has yet to grow up. After a chance meeting at a house showing, Sidney begins to bring out the best in Klaven. There is a wonderful moment under a boardwalk where Sidney challenges Klaven to yell… loudly. It is the first time Klaven is able to break free, and the slow transformation begins.
Segel is obviously more charismatic, but Rudd has an interesting and engaging character. You know the type of guy Segel is playing from their first meeting, one in which he picks out a guy trying to impress a women on their date. Rudd is too closed, and it creates an engaging plot as he opens up.
There are subtle supporting performances too. J.K. Simmons comes and goes as the elder Klaven, but his impact early propels the plot forward through some quick exposition. Andy Samberg does the same as Peter’s gay brother who details the route to male friendship. Even Lou Ferrigno plays himself without becoming an unnecessary cameo, but a critical piece of the story.
While I Love You Man ends on a wedding, it is not the usual romantic comedy ending. In fact, the set up is perfect, brilliantly adding a piece to Segel’s character and capping off the smaller individual characters through smart writing. You leave I Love You Man with a smile, one you’ve carried with you throughout the movie.
An AVC encode for I Love You Man is fair. Black crush is a problem in the earlier moments, although this does clear up as the film moves on. Contrast is relatively under control, blooming intentionally late into the movie with few ill effects. Facial detail is bland and lacking.
Colors are heavily saturated, and the reds cause minor problems. Natural grain is left alone, although deleted scenes show significantly more. I Love You Man does not carry a digital look, so any DNR is light and likely to help with the encode. The transfer handles stripes, plaid, and various other designs without aliasing or flickering. Sharpness is steady throughout. Flesh tones are somewhat unnatural, with an orange tint that tends to look sickly.
While rough around the edges, this is a bright encode with solid depth. The lack of detail, especially facial textures is a downer, but the image is pleasing overall. This is a very close call, but the flaws do not detract from the film.
A slightly low mixed TrueHD track has few opportunities to shine. A Rush concert delivers a solid sound field and low-end boost. Other musical cues are lively and filling. Dialogue is nicely put into the mix if slightly low at your standard volume. This is a dialogue driven comedy, and it sounds exactly like one should with few frills.
A commentary from writer/director John Hamburg, Jason Segel, and Paul Rudd is lively as they discuss the film. A decent if padded with the usual promotional feel making of is probably worth skipping. Nine improv sequences are genuinely funny, and run for over 22 minutes.
Six extended scenes are joined by three brief deleted ones, running a little over 15 minutes together. A mildly funny gag reel is followed by a red band trailer for the film.