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Film / I Love You, Man

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"I love you, Tycho Brohe."
Sydney, during the wedding.

A 2009 comedy film directed by John Hamburg, the writer of Zoolander, as well as Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers, and Little Fockers (but don't hold that against him). Peter has a good job, a nice house, and a beautiful girlfriend who has just become his fiancée (Rashida Jones). Things seem wonderful, until the fiancée's friends start to comment on Peter's apparent lack of male friends. Even his family can't seem to recall any. Soon, no one is sure who will be Peter's best man, or whether he will even have one. So he sets off on a quest to find a good male friend, by going on as many man-dates as he can. Hilarity Ensues.

Just about everything in the movie is played for laughs, especially the subtle (and not so subtle) homosexual undertones that come out of using RomCom tropes to tell a movie about two straight dudes. It may in fact merit being categorized as a bromantic comedy, perhaps the first full-fledged member of the genre.

Also notable for a highly talented supporting cast, many of whom would go on to achieve greater fame the following decade, including Aziz Ansari, J. K. Simmons, Andy Samberg, Jon Favreau, Jaime Pressly and Joe Lo Truglio.

This film provides examples of:

  • AB Negative: Sydney has it, and says he donates to the local bank every few weeks
  • Angrish: Sydney's reaction to being hit in the leg with a golf ball.
    Sydney: Fucking cock... in my... fucking shit!!
  • As Himself: Lou Ferrigno, as Peter's big real estate account. He's only on-screen for a little while, but the movie gets a lot of millage out of Ferrigno's former role.
  • Beta Couple: An unusual case. With the story's recontextualization of familiar Rom Com tropes, Peter and Sydney take the role of a platonic best-friends version of the Alpha Couple, with Peter and Zooey being the Beta Couple whose story is less complicated and serves as a barometer for the relationship between Peter and Sydney.
  • Brief Accent Imitation: Peter doesn't just play bass, he's "slappin da bass, mon"
  • Bullying a Dragon: Don't say "Fuck you" to Lou Ferrigno.
  • Captain Obvious: Sydney's line.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Peter and his first “Man Date” discuss favorite SNL sketches, despite Peter’s mother and brother being played by former cast members.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Sydney tries to fight Lou Ferrigno on Peter's behalf (because he was going to switch to another agent), and Ferrigno quickly knocks him out with a sleeper hold.
  • Embarrassing Voicemail: Peter leaves voicemails for Sydney asking to hang out. However, his awkwardness and poor social skills make it come across as pathetic.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Peter's gay brother Robbie, who openly admits that he doesn't even bother dating gay guys anymore because "straight" ones are more of a challenge. He then promptly picks one up by offering the guy a spot while he bench presses.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: A downplayed case, but Zooey — who is used to being the centre of Peter's world — clearly starts to feel a bit threatened by his developing friendship with Sydney.
  • Improv: Several of Peter's lines were improvised by Paul Rudd, which was most likely to to add to the clumsiness of what he says.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lou Ferrigno. He's frustrated with Peter's inability to sell his house, and attempts to go back on their deal. However, he and Peter make amends, he becomes one of Peter's groomsmen, and even moves to intervene when he thinks Sydney is attempting to stop the wedding. Even though, he harbors no ill will towards Sydney even after putting him in a sleeper hold.
  • Karma Houdini: Barry never gets any sort of comeuppance for his Jerkass behavior. Not just because of his attitude towards Peter, but even the way he treats Denise. And, well, everybody.
    • That's not entirely true. He does get puked on, twice. I'd say projectile beer vomit to the face is fairly decent karma.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: An inverted, positive version of this. Whenever Peter's father is in a conversation about friends, he'll add "..and Hank Mardukas" (his own best friend).
  • No Bisexuals: Robbie's married boyfriend is called "straight" throughout the film, so it's never considered that he may be bi.
  • Oh, Crap!: Peter's reaction to seeing the billboards that Sydney paid for.
  • One of the Girls: In the beginning of the film, Pete is struggling to find a best man for his wedding because all of his friends are women, with his only male friends besides his brother being more like acquaintances he knows from work. His search for at least one good male friend comprises the film's plot.
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: Peter and Sydney ping-pong this in an Overly-Long Gag at the altar while Peter is marrying Zooey, showing their growth from recent acquaintances to Heterosexual Life-Partners, with the dead-seriousness of a traditional rom-com confession:
    Sydney: I love you too, bud.
    Peter: I love you, dude.
    Sydney: I love you, Bro Montana.note 
    Peter: I love you, homes.
    Sydney: I love you, Bro-seph Goebbels.note 
    Peter: I love you, muchacho.
    Sydney: I love you, Tycho Bro-he—note 
    Priest: OK! OK, let's continue here.
  • Precision F-Strike: Peter to Tevin: "Stay the FUCK away from my listing!" Also, the self-deprecating "...fuck" after leaving Sydney an incredibly awkward message.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Peter's groomsmen include his father, his gay brother, the man he dated... and Lou Ferrigno.
  • Romantic Comedy: Averted, but just barely. Between the date montages, awkward phone message (including message rehearsal), and worrying about the "rules" of man-dating, a lot of the movie's humor comes from playing with Rom Com tropes we all know, just transplanted to an unusual context.
    Peter (recording a message to Sydney): Hey Peter, it's Sydney Klaven. Uh no, that's not right. Sydney, it's Peter Klaven.
  • Running Gag: Peter's awkwardness around Sydney lasts quite a while, bordering on schoolboyish infatuation. The resulting gag is Peter's utter inability to think up a half decent, or even intelligible, nickname for Sydney.
    • Every one of Peter’s impressions sounding like a leprechaun.
  • Sherlock Scan: Sydney is able to determine an open house patron's economic, relationship and flatulence status just by watching him for a few minutes.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Played with as Sydney isn't trying to steal Peter from Zooey but is showing his love for Peter. If you listen closely Sydney arrives as the priest says "If anyone can show just cause why they should not marry."
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage Peter's "man-date" montage is an example of an adaptation of the romantic comedy variation.
  • Title Drop: Parodied when their proclamations of (platonic) love escalate. Rapidly.
    Peter: I love you, dude.
    Sydney: I love you, Bro Montana.
    Peter: I love you, homes.
    Sydney: I love you, Broseph Goebbels.
    Peter: I love you, muchacho.
  • The Unfair Sex: A mild instance - early in the film, Pete finds out that Zooey has told all of her girlfriends about an intimate night they had in a hottub and he is clearly annoyed by it. Later, when he admits he has told Sydney she doesn't like performing oral sex on him, she instantly yells "Ew, that's private!" and says that her telling her own friends is "so totally different." However, she does make the point that while they are very close, Pete has only known Sydney for a short time while she has known her friends for ages, and she is just as quick to admit that Pete is right when he calls her out on the hypocrisy, so it's not as bad as most cases of this trope.