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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

trailer break: ‘I Love You, Man’

Take a break from work: watch a movie trailer…


Yeah, why is it weird that a guy has mainly had girlfriends? Why is it weird that someone’s “best friend” would be the person you’re about to marry? What’s wrong with a guy who loves The Devil Wears Prada?

Ahh, now I see: guys like that get mistaken for gay! And that’s the worst thing evar.

*grinding teeth* I really, really, really hate this crap.

God forbid a man in today’s America deviate even slightly from the approved image of what a man is. It’s not enough to be straight. It’s not enough to have secured the love of a beautiful woman. It’s not enough to — obviously — have proven to be such a consummate lover that she’s bragging to her friends about your mad bedroom skillz.

That’s not what a real man is.

A real man lets his dog shit in a public place and doesn’t clean it up.

A real man eats junk food, dresses like a third-grader, and spends seven hours rocking out in his garage.

The thing I really hate about movies like this — or at least, in this case, about how movies are marketed (because I’m still willing to be open to the possibility that this trailer is not a fair representation of the film, and that the film will be smart and, you know, good) — is that they make me rail against things I actually believe in. People should have their own lives, and if this Paul Rudd character doesn’t have his own life, that’s obviously a lack that needs to be addressed.

And, you know, I like junk food sometimes. Sometimes I dress like a third-grader. I don’t have a garage, but if I did, I might want to rock out in it sometimes. It’s not that those things in themselves are the problem.

It’s the absolutism about these movies that drive me crazy. Real men are always only this and never ever that. Be original and be yourself, but Jesus Christ, don’t be too original or too yourself. Or someone might think you’re gay.

And the really annoying thing is, even if the movie turns out to be more nuanced than that, these are the ideas that are being used to sell the movie. I’m not sure which is worse: that Hollywood thinks mainstream America is this stupid and this narrow-minded, or that mainstream American actually is this stupid and this narrow-minded.

Of course, women aren’t supposed to deviate even slightly from the approved image of what a woman is. But it ain’t progress to start subjecting men to the same nonsense.

I Love You, Man opens in the U.S. on March 20, and in the U.K. on April 10.



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movie buzz | trailers
  • Kate

    It’s such a shame that an actor as charming and likeable as Paul Rudd consistently keeps appearing in this kind of crap.

    The one slightly refreshing thing about this goddawful trailer is the romantic relationship being portrayed as a best friend relationship. Given how movies of this type (and by that I mean ones directed by Apatow & Co. and – unfortunately – starring Paul Rudd) usually portray “romance”.

    But even that isn’t enough to redeem the shitty, awful subtext of this movie, which you perfectly outlined.

  • Personally I find it shocking enough that movie audiences are being asked to take seriously a movie that appears to have taken its title from the catchphrase of a popular beer commercial. Granted, it’s supposed to be a comedy but still…

  • Listen. I laughed my ass of during that trailer. I think it shows my well-rounded sense of humor.

    However, I think we all know how the plot of this movie will go, and there’s no chance that wedding is actually happening. But we’ve been shown all the good jokes now anyway, so at least there’s no reason to go see it.

  • Chuck

    I’m not going to touch the tired gay jokes in the trailer, but MaryAnn’s first paragraph about mainly having girlfriends seems to indicate a difference in perspective. As far as I can tell (from the trailer, which is obviously an insufficient sample)the initial conflict isn’t that the protag is effeminate and hangs out with a group of female friends, it’s that he ignored and lost his male friends because he spent too much time with his girlfriends. (Don’t read that as female friends, but specifically as a singluar series of female love interests.)

    It’s a common situation. People that you hang out with disappear when they get a girlfriend only to slink back when they become single again. There’s nothing wrong with your significant other being your best friend (that’s probably the best possible outcome for any couple) but they shouldn’t be your ONLY friend. Whence comes the crude phrase; “bros before hoes.” (Crude and offensive yes, but it rhymes and it’s generally a good guideline to follow. Don’t ignore your friends just because you’re in a romantic relationship. It’s better for both parties in the long run.)

    /rant off

  • MaryAnn

    There’s nothing wrong with your significant other being your best friend (that’s probably the best possible outcome for any couple) but they shouldn’t be your ONLY friend.

    I absolutely agree. But here’s another instance of the terrible way in which these stories are told that has me sounding like I’m railing against something I actually believe. But it looks as if the movie will be saying that the Rudd character needs a “manly” friend (by the movie’s own narrow definition of what defines manliness), not simply a friend who’s male. Why couldn’t he have male friends who are like him? That doesn’t even enter into the equation, because the equation isn’t “Paul Rudd MINUS friendship outside romantic relationship EQUALS bad,” it’s “Paul Rudd MINUS culturally approved signifiers of male heterosexuality EQUALS bad.” It’s not enough now that a straight man be straight, it’s that absolutely everyone must have no doubt that he is straight. Because god knows, no gay men are dog-shit-leaving, fart-talking, garage-rocking sloppy dressers. And all straight men are.

    You know what would be awesome? If the dog-shit guy turned out to be gay. But that’ll never happen.

  • Cynthia

    Does anyone know what kind of dog is the movie?

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