Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hey Pistol Pete I Love You, Man *Film Review*

The film I Love You, Man focuses on the bromance between Peter (Paul Rudd) and his friend Sydney (Jason Segel). Their friendship develops after Peter is encouraged by his fiancée, Zooey to find a male friend for their up coming wedding party. Zooey first realizes Peter’s lack of male friends during the night of their engagement, Peter has no one to call, and in fact he just wants to tell his parents. Soon after during dinner with Peter’s parents we find out that Peter has been a “girl friend guy” meaning he lets his male friends fall by the side and only focuses on his relationship. This may not sound like an insult but just to make it clear Peter finds out that one of his dads best friends is his brother, even if that is not bad enough Peter overhears Zooey say “I honestly think his best friend is his mother” to her girlfriends. That comment solidifies his decision to find some male friends.

During his search for male friends we get a glimpse into the locker room banter after fencing practice. Here we see a perfect example of male banter that is reinforcing gender roles. One male to another makes a penis joke, the guys in the locker room laugh and think its all ok. Even when Peter asks his brother for advice, he makes it clear that there is a fine line when being friends with a guy and wanting something more. There is to be only after work drinks, sports outings, no movies or dinner together-because that sends the wrong message. So when Peter tries to call and set up a hangout date with Sydney he feels completely strange and practices, he even covers up the notion of wanting to just be friends by making it seem like a business call. Even after the meeting/hangout Peter is shocked to find out that Sydney did just in fact and did not want to use Peter’s realtor skills. These scenes prove what Karen Walker found in her research of working class men in the article “I’m not friends the way she’s friends”, Walker found that men rarely called their male friends for personal matters she states “Men claimed that they called their friends fro explicitly instrumental reasons-to make plans, get specific information, and so on-but not to find out how friends were” (ML 304).

However going beyond that later in the film Sydney and Peter do talk on the phone and they do talk about things other than the next time they will hang out, they talk about set lists and various things. They do share “moments” where they go beyond small talk and discuss relationships and sex. This does disprove some of the findings done by Walker, and in fact the close relationship between Peter and Sydney allow Peter to discuss his issues with the openness Zooey shares with her girl friends.

I want to discuss but there is no readings to tie in with it is the wardrobe differences between Peter and Sydney. Peter is always dressed in a suit or business casual, a button up and slacks or jeans. He rarely ever wears a basic t-shirt and sneakers. However during one of the first hangouts Sydney is wearing a plaid button-up, cargo shorts and Ugg boots. During one of their jam sessions Sydney rips open his shirt in the heat of the moment and yells, Peter on the other hand unbuttons his top 2 buttons and lets a little chest hair show. These differences are important when looking at the way the two men are opposites. Sydney has always had a close group of guy friends with a mural of pictures of fun memories in his man cave, and Peter the “girl friend guy” has pictures of his fiancé and her friends in his cubicle. Yet the two of them are good friends, during tux shopping for the wedding Sydney encourages Peter to try on something with a little “pizzazz”, which equates to a blue tux.

The homes of both these men are also drastically different. One would say that Peters home is clean and organized because he lives with his fiancée but there is one difference that is made about the separate spaces-Peter has a place where he masturbates. This place does not need to be cleaned up when company comes over; he does not have to hide it from women because the never go into his man cave. In fact Peter only goes into the man cave. This is definitely an effort to prove what a real man Sydney is, since this discussion leads us to discover that wearing condoms when masturbating is awesome since it helps you last longer during the “real thing”, since stamina is so closely linked to manhood. However I do have to point out that this is one of the few times that talk of condoms is present in current media. The fact that these men actually use condoms and are looking for the pros of using them is something that is positive about the movie. By the end of the end of the film we realize that Sydney and Peter do have good characteristics that the other should learn from, and of course they earn the ability to say “I love you, man”

1 comment:

Lauren said...

I thought the movie "I Love You Man" was an interesting journey into realistic male bonding and friendship that is usually only reserved for action (and thereby being overly stereotypically masculine) or mafia films (and thus permeating the culture of violence). It is interesting to note that masculinity is portrayed in a new way in this movie, in one instance showing the parallel when Sydney decides to confront the muscle man (and former Hulk himself) Lou Ferigno, we realize that, though Sydney is "cool" in general and a great deal more manly than the Peter character, he is not stereotypically masculine. I feel like "I Love You, Man" offered something fresh and new in terms of male relationships and presented it in an accessible way. These men weren't about degrading women, getting into fights, or asserting dominance -- it was about having fun, going to Rush concerts, and slappin' da bass.