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Film

Revisiting 'I Love You, Man', Paul Rudd's best film

Long before Paul Rudd became just another member of the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with his role as Ant-Man, he was one of the finest comedy actors out there. 

Notably, Rudd began his film career in the era-defining 1995 teen flick Clueless, and it set a precedent for the rest of his career, and for the most part, he would go from strength to strength. Afterwards, Rudd made his name as part of ‘The Frat Pack’, the group of actors that features the likes of Ben Stiller, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughan, and Owen Wilson.

Although he’s slightly younger than the aforementioned set of actors, the concept of ‘The Frat Pack’, much like the MCU, has been a constantly growing one, and over the course of the 2000s, the likes of Seth Rogen and Jason Segel were initiated into the group by the media. Thus, by the dawn of the 2010s, you had two different generations of lauded comedy actors who comprised the set.

In 2011, Rudd said: “As far as the Frat Pack concept goes, I’m happy to be included. I think the elder statesmen in it are really talented, and I’m a fan of all of them.”

Whilst there are many movies that Rudd has starred in that rightly led to him being a crucial part of ‘The Frat Pack’ such as Wet Hot American Summer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old VirginKnocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he was only a side character in these projects, and it wasn’t until 2009 where he truly confirmed himself as an adept leading man and a great of modern cinema.

Paul Rudd and Jason Segel pay tribute to the legendary Rush drummer, Neil Peart

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The film was I Love You, Man, and it remains a bonafide classic. The movie stars Rudd as Peter Klaven, a friendless estate agent who has spent his whole life with girlfriends instead of making friends, and so after he proposes to his girlfriend Zooey (Rashida Jones), he’s in desperate need of finding a best man for the wedding. 

He places an advert, and a whole host of colourful characters respond, including Joe Lo Truglio as the hapless Lonnie and Thomas Lennon as Doug. However, whilst hosting an open house for Lou Ferrigno’s mansion, which he’s trying to sell, Peter meets the insouciant Sydney Fife (Jason Segel), and a friendship quickly blossoms. Peter starts to loosen up, but as a result, this begins to strain his and Zooey’s relationship.

The onscreen chemistry between Rudd, Segel and Jones is marvellous; and in terms of memorable laughs, you do not get much more timeless than I Love You, Man. Rudd is brilliant as the totally hopeless Klaven, and his character is perhaps the best he’s ever portrayed. Who can forget the “Slappin Da Bass” scene? It’s just ridiculous, as is him referring to prog-rock legends Rush as “The Holy Triumvirate”.

Lacking the pretentious edge that sometimes follows pictures of this kind, the feel-good factor is tangible. Much of this has to be attributed to Rudd’s performance and the excellent cast of supporting actors. For instance, Andy Samberg, J. K. Simmons and Jane Curtin play Klaven’s family, and this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are also stellar appearances from Jon Favreau, Aziz Ansari, Murray Gershenz and Lou Ferrigno. 

It’s genuinely mind-blowing to consider just how far Paul Rudd has come as an actor following his appointment as Ant-Man, and good for him. Nonetheless, we’ll never forget the terrific performances he gave us before, such as I Love You, Man, which is undoubtedly his best outing. Sorry Marvel fans. 

Watch a trailer for I Love You, Man, below.