Reviews of I Love You, Man and Duplicity

I Love You, Man is, of course, as anybody knows who has been reading any media outlet lately, a bromance. That is because the two love interests are straight men (if they were gay, it would be called a dick flick). Everybody thinks this a new genre, but the boy meets boy, boy loses boy, boy gets boy stories date back to the early days of film with such movies as What Price Glory? What’s new is that the director, writers, producer, advertisers are finally admitting to what is really going on. The honesty is kind of fun because it’s just so cute watching straight men make fools of themselves trying to admit they have feelings for one another. The downside is that one gets the feeling that the director, et. al. also think they deserve to be rewarded for discovering something everybody else knew all along (like a student wanting extra credit for remembering to put his name at the top of the test). In spite of all that, I Love You, Man is a frolic, a very, very funny divertissement, a wonderful way to spend a few hours, especially if life is getting you down. The middle part tends to slow; that’s because the script (screenplay credited to John Hamburg and Larry Levin) didn’t seem to know exactly what kind of character arc they wanted to give the Paul Rudd character: is he suppose to be someone who needs to learn how to be more open and free like the Jason Segel character, maybe, possibly, it’s as good as any other character arc we can come up with? But since the Segel character is more annoying than charmingly free at times and Rudd’s character doesn’t need a character arc (he’s just fine as he is), this section feels a little like everyone’s biding time until the final act. The Lou Ferrigno parts also don’t satisfy; it feels as if he’s cast because Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t take the gig because he’s still governor. The real standouts are Jon Favreau as a boor of a husband who has found the perfect wife for himself; Andy Samberg as the gay brother (included so the audience can be absolutely sure that what is going on between Rudd and Segel is not homosexual in nature); and J.K. Simmons and Jane Curtin playing normal, yet, effective parents who the authors thankfully forgot to pattern after the ones in the Focker films. See it with someone you love—of the same sex—and this time don’t sit with one seat between you so no one suspects you’re out on a date.

Like I Love You, Man, Duplicity is also a frolic, a very, very funny divertissement, a wonderful way to spend a few hours, especially if life is getting you down. The main difference is that while I Love You, Man is like having a beer at a neighborhood bar, Duplicity is like having a fine wine at a non-boring cocktail parties (yes, there are such things). This doesn’t make Duplicity better than I Love You, Man because beer and a bar are not inherently superior to wine and a cocktail party. At the same time, Duplicity is the better picture because the structure (screenplay by Tony Gilroy who also directed) is more intriguing and much cleverer (whatever you do, do not, I repeat, do not go to the bathroom until after the first flashback as my friend did, it will take forever for you to figure out what the hell is going on) and the sexual tension between Clive Owen and Julia Roberts is more dangerous and exciting, if more socially acceptable. At the same time, the supporting cast of I Love You, Man is more interesting, the ones in Duplicity often seem to just be along for the ride. See it with someone you love, but with someone of the opposite sex (unless you’re gay, then… well, you know).

So tell me what you think.

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