“I Love You, Man” is my favorite movie. If I had a bad day at work, I’ll throw it on as soon as I get home to help me relax. If I’m having a good day, I’ll throw it on to make the day even better. If I need to get work done, I’ll throw it on so that I have some sense of the passage of time. If… you get the picture.
It’s definitely a niche choice. I’m sure that, in the grand scheme of things, it’s probably not the most memorable work in any of its cast members’ filmographies. It’s no “Star Wars” or “Lord of the Rings” either – people don’t go to conventions and scream “SLAP-A DA BASS” to each other (… as far as I know??).
The main appeal to me is not necessarily Paul Rudd or Jason Segel or Rashida Jones or any other individual member of the cast. It also isn’t specifically the film’s odd, awkward, “adorkable” sense of humor. These things certainly help, and the movie definitely would not be the same without them, but my attraction to this movie runs much deeper.
Much like the protagnist, Peter Klaven, I was never great at maintaining same-sex friendships. The vast majority of my current friend group came into my life during college because I don’t really keep in touch with anyone I knew in high school or earlier. In most cases, from my perspective, these friendships didn’t even end in a negative way. I’m just a very “out of sight, out of mind” person, so if I don’t see a person on a regular basis, I’m not great at keeping in touch with them.
Because of this, just like Peter Klaven, I’ve worried about how I would “pad up” my hypothetical list of bridesmaids. My boyfriend has many more close male friends than I have close female friends, and I’ve even joked about doubling up on groomsmen for each bridesmen at our hypothetical wedding. (“Eh… don’t worry, we’ll find more girls,” he’ll often reassure me.)
I admit that I’ve fantasized about finding my own Sydney Fife – a new friend that I could quickly move through all of the stages of a budding friendship with and, after only a few weeks, consider one of my best friends. As much as I would love for someone to do most of the legwork on a new friendship, I haven’t found them yet (maybe I should hang out at more real estate open houses?).
This insecurity about my inability to keep close same-sex friends has plagued me since high school (conveniently, now that I think about it, around the time that this movie came out!). Even though I have not yet planned a wedding, and don’t plan to in the near future, I’ve often had this same sinking feeling about my lack of friends to fill out a bridal party. Did this doubt arise from watching the movie for the first time? Or did it awaken something that had, until then, been sitting dormant?
The most reassuring part of the movie is its eventual happy ending. Spoiler alert – though Sydney does not initially get along with Peter’s fiancee Zooey and is removed from the wedding party, she eventually invites him back to the wedding and he serves as a last-minute best man. Whenever I worry about my hypothetical future wedding, I always come back to this ending – everything works out in the end. It’s a Hollywood ending, sure, but who says art can’t imitate life once in a while?