Link: IMDB Runtime: 104 mins Words by Adam Tobias I must admit I have a little bit of a man crush on Paul Rudd. Now, there’s no need to go questioning my sexuality because that statement doesn’t include anything sexual in nature. For those of you who are not up to speed on the latest lingo, a man crush is defined as one male respecting, admiring and idolizing another male. If you were to ask me, there are not too many actors in the movie industry today who are as consistently as funny as Rudd, so much to the point that if you see his name in the opening credits or his face in the previews, you are almost guaranteed a film that will leave you laughing on more than a few occasions. (There are a couple of exceptions to this rule like, say, “Over Her Dead Body,” for example.) I am sure it helps that he is often surrounded by a talented cast, but for some reason or another he always seems to stick out more than his fellow actors and his humorous performances are definitely among the reasons why I consider “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up” and “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy” some of the best comedies of the decade. There’s just something about the way he throws around zingers and utters quips while trying to hide the smile on his face that leaves me in stitches just about every time, and it’s rare that he ever resorts to obnoxious, over-the-top gags to pull in some laughs, which is something that can’t be said about a lot of comedic actors. And he is as good as ever in “I Love You, Man” as Peter Klaven, a Los Angeles real estate agent who has always felt more comfortable hanging around women than with men. Peter is not homosexual by any means, but he would much rather spend his nights watching “The Devil Wears Prada” or “Chocolat” than playing poker and chugging beers with the guys. Shortly after Peter pops the question to his soon-to-be fiancée, Zooey (the charming Rashida Jones), it dawns on him that he doesn’t have a pal who would be considered best man material. In fact, he doesn’t have any testosterone-filled friends at all. Peter’s lack of male companionship doesn’t seem to bother him too much, but it does start to secretly worry Zooey, who has more than enough friends of her own, some of whom are played by Jaime Pressly (TV’s “My Name is Earl”) and Sarah Burns. Peter eventually learns of this tidbit following some eavesdropping one night, which prompts him to go out on a bunch of “man dates” to find a loyal buddy who will stand on his other side when he marries his beautiful wife. The man dates humorously end with disastrous results and Rudd capably carries the film up until this point, but “I Love You, Man” really starts to take off when we are introduced to Sydney Fife, who is played by Jason Segel, star of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and the television series “How I Met Your Mother.” Sydney is the kind of person who tells it exactly like it is and I think just about every male could benefit from having a friend like him. Sure, Sydney is blunt and he couldn’t care less when someone steps in waste left by his tiny dog that resembles Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, but he is exactly what Peter needs at this point in his life. The opposites attract when they first meet at an open house at the mansion of Lou Ferrigno, and it doesn’t take long before they are going to Rush concerts together and jamming on instruments in Sydney’s garage that has been transformed into a “man cave.” But as the two get closer and closer and Peter learns the true meaning of male bonding, Zooey starts to get jealous, which puts both relationships in jeopardy. The story from director John Hamburg (“Meet the Parents” and “Along Came Polly”) and Larry Levin is somewhat predictable, and I’m sure you already know how it’s going to end, but what makes “I Love You, Man” so amusing is that the film takes the basic romantic comedy structure and turns it upside down and inside out. (It’s also an absolute blast to watch Rudd, who shares some great comedic chemistry with Segel, act all awkward around people of his own sex.) And the film also benefits from a certain sense of realism that is injected into the jokes, which mostly deal with embarrassing situations that many of us have thought about before but don’t want to admit. But as much as I enjoyed “I Love You, Man,” it lacks those unforgettable scenes that you talk about long after you leave the theater. I don’t deny that I was laughing throughout a large majority of the movie, but never once did I experience one of those gut busters that leaves you in tears. However, I am not going to complain much because “I Love You, Man” is basically just an excuse to get Rudd and Segel together to share the spotlight for 105 minutes while exchanging banter and giving a glimpse into how some men really think. For me, that alone is worth the price of admission. Rating: 7/10