I Love You, Man 

Directed by John Hamburg

Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd), a high-end real estate agent — they must have started filming before the collapse of the housing market? — dreams of taking the commission from the sale of the Lou Ferrigno Estate and buying an empty lot in a questionable neighborhood so he can build retail and residential units; that is, he dreams of being a gentrifier and an over-developer. He and his fiancée each have a car; his is an SUV. In his spare time, he golfs. (And fences — like, with an epee.) He’s like a less-developed version of Annette Bening in American Beauty, except director Hamburg (Along Came Polly) plays him as the to-be-sympathized-with hero, even though he’s an irritating schmuck. It’s no wonder he doesn’t have any friends, a crisis that sets the plot into motion: Klaven must find a best friend (a biffle) to be his best man (his bimmle?). Thank goodness the loveable Jason Segel shows up to be the Oscar to Rudd’s Felix. A frank and slovenly puer aeternus, Segel’s character is still the likable one, and it’s too bad that he gets the short shrift in screen-time. As you’d expect from the talent involved, there are a few laughs, like a mutt named Anwar Sadat because of its resemblance to Egypt’s former prime minister. But the movie is mostly a plodding “bromantic comedy” (from the press notes), centered on the shallow trials of a barely sympathetic loser. If this is with whom us average Americans are supposed to empathize, we deserve our recession.

Opens March 20

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