Many films have relied on the relationship between a couple of male friends and their various farting and vomiting jokes – and this one isn’t that different.
Paul Rudd and Jason Segel are an unlikely coupling brought together by the fact that Rudd’s Peter Klaven – a smartly dressed estate agent who is known more for his womanising than his nights out with the boys – is getting married, but has no best man.
The diminutive Rudd and the gangly Segel – who plays Sydney- strike an appropriate physical contrast for comedy. They are an odd couple, which means they are already set up to be a box office success.
When his fiancee seems alarmed by the fact that he has no male friends who might do the duty at their nuptials, Peter embarks on a mission to find a pal.
Egged on by his intended (Rashida Jones, a star from the American version of The Office) and her girlfriends, he anxiously embarks on an excruciating series of set-up ‘man dates’ with losers, loners and, inevitably, in a rendezvous of crossed wires and mixed signals, the hopeful gay guy who thinks Pete is looking for love. After going out on a few of these “man dates,” he happens to meet Sydney at an open house. They get on instantly, and soon the unlikely twosome are going to the beach and rock concerts together.
The joys of male bonding are explored as the inner caveman comes out in the fastidious Peter. Paul Rudd is comedy’s bridesmaid, but never the bride. It is good to see him in this lead role which provides an opportunity for him to show off some expert timing.
Also, Rudd’s open, trusting, considerate Peter gives estate agents a good name – not a bad thing in today’s climate. He’s adored by all the women in the office but has never been one of the guys. This becomes highly apparent when he’s press-ganged into an unfriendly poker game with a memorably toe-curling result.
It is all good fun and not surprisingly, given the genre, the movie has its crude moments, which do include the inevitable fart and vomit jokes. However, it does have genuine wit and depth which has the effect of making the film funnier on reflection. It also benefits from the talents of the two stars.
Director John Hamburg has assembled a fine supporting cast. Andy Samberg is winning as Peter’s gay brother, who seems more masculine than Peter. Jon Favreau is uproariously obnoxious as the macho monster in Peter’s circle. And one-time Hulk Lou Ferrigno plays himself in a hilarious cameo.
The women — including Rashida Jones as Peter’s fiancee and Jane Curtin as his mother — also perform skillfully and the technical credits are certainly competent.