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I Love You, Man
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this hard-R "bromantic" comedy starring Judd Apatow regulars Paul Rudd and Jason Segel, is loaded with strong language ("f--k" is just the beginning), graphic discussions about sex, heavy drinking, and generally shameless bathroom humor. At the same time, it does portray relationships between men and between couples in a more realistic light than many other movies -- focusing on the need for respect and communication -- and ultimately has its heart in the right place.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In I LOVE YOU, MAN, Peter (Paul Rudd) has proposed to his girlfriend, Zooey (Rashida Jones); wedding preparations are underway when Peter realizes that he doesn't have a male best friend to ask to be his best man. So he embarks on a quest to make male friends, but his efforts are as ineffectual as they are strained. Then Peter meets relaxed free-spirit Sydney (Jason Segel), and it seems like he could be "the one." But Peter is going to find out that having a best friend isn't always easy.
Is it any good?
Like similarly-toned comedies The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Superbad, I Love You, Man, walks a fine line in depicting outlandish, vulgar behavior on the road to wisdom. While I Love You, Man may not walk that line as smoothly as those earlier films, it also has a grace of its own, specifically thanks to Rudd's underplayed scene-stealing performance as a man more than a little uncomfortable in his own life.
Segel is also fine as a slightly solipsistic slacker -- Sydney lives the way he wants to, which can make him both an inspiration and an irritation -- and the rest of the supporting cast, most notably Jon Favreau and Jaime Pressly's feuding, loving couple -- are excellent as well. Director John Hamburg also has the good judgment to simply let his cast rip in some of the funnier, zingier moments of dialogue. I Love You Man looks sour and slick, but it's surprisingly earnest and heartfelt once you get past its more outlandish excesses.
Talk to your kids about ...
Familes can talk about whether the movie's message comes across amid the crude humor. Does the film's reliance on strong language and sex jokes undermine its themes and positive messages, or does it make those messages more likely to be seen by a broad audience?
Discuss the real question of male friendship. Do men, in general, lack the emotional vocabulary to form new friendships after a certain age? And what emotional needs does male friendship meet?
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