The buddy movie has been a popular brand of entertainment for decades, but it seems that only recently has it delved into the softer complexities of male friendship and mined homoeroticism for comedy.
I Love You, Man, the latest buddy-comedy to hit theatres attempts to do precisely that. Terms like "bromance" have been tacked onto this new way of looking at male friendships. I Love You, Man sets out simultaneously to endear audiences to this gushier side of male friendships while poking fun at all the awkwardness that can result from trying to understand them.
"What we're going for is a good male, platonic comedy," says star Jason Segel. "We got as close to the homoerotic line as possible, which, uh, I think we both [Paul Rudd and I] found comedically satisfying . . . I think my favourite bromantic comedy is Midnight Cowboy. Twins, that's a great buddy movie. Also not bad is the follow-up, Junior. Dumb and Dumber, too."
"And Schindler's List," adds Rudd.
Rudd and Segel's latest is another movie coming from what Rudd terms as his "Komfortable Komedy Koalition" featuring a good portion of comedians and writers grouped around the successful Judd Apatow comedies. All involved are simply a good group of friends fooling around and making movies together. The camaraderie between them, Rudd and Segel in particular, is evident as they describe their "prep-bonding sessions" for the movie.
"We had a couple of hangs," Segel says. "We went to the bar a couple of times, scored a few brews."
Rudd has another set of terminology for it.
"We pounded some brains . . . and thankfully we knew each other and so there was already a built in familiarity and we made several, several boner jokes before we ever started filming this one, so we already spoke the same language a bit," he comments. "And when I say boner jokes and language, I mean it's an actual language called bonerist. We both speak bonerist."
Poking fun at full-frontal male nudity has also been ushered in with the bromantic-comedy it seems. Perhaps baring your nether regions goes hand-in-hand with male bonding and understanding the male psyche. Or maybe it's just another, until now, unmined area of comedy.
"Well, I was the first to show my dick [in Forgetting Sarah Marshall], as far as I'm concerned, in a comedic sense," says Segel.
Rudd disputes Segel's claim.
"I think there was a dick in Walk Hard," he adds. "But you only saw dick, [Segel] kind of put dick and face together. That came out wrong. As soon as that sentence left my lips, that also came out wrong."
"Let me tell you something, between my dick and your ass, we're pretty funny," Segel quips.
Male nudity in the bromantic comedy has also had some unforeseen benefits in real life for Rudd, who "went ass in 40-Year-Old Virgin" and the especially for the still single Segel.
"[On dates] it actually makes things more comfortable because they know what they're going to get," says Segel. "There's no mystery or awkward moments where it's like, 'Yeah, this is what I'm working with.' If they want to go out on a date, they've already checked out the goods, and on the big screen, too, which is only more helpful."
Rudd cautions that philosophy can backfire.
"Unless there's a chance that they downloaded it on iTunes and they're watching it on their iPod," he warns. "Gives you an iDick."