Bromance Gets the A-List Treatment

The formula is the same: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. Only in the case of bromance movies like the Paul Rudd/Jason Segel pairing I Love You, Man , it's two straight men competing for each other's affections.

BY Ben Walters

March 18 2009 12:00 AM ET

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Yet over the past few years other strands of the bromance genre have been nudging closer to overtly acknowledged homoeroticism. Much of this can be ascribed to movies directed or produced by Judd Apatow: The 40-Year-Old Virgin 's fresh take on emotional openness in male friendships, for instance, was followed by Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd's quasi-romantic Las Vegas getaway in Knocked Up . In Superbad , male friendship was not only privileged and romanticized -- "I wanna go to the rooftops and scream, 'I love my best friend Evan!'" Jonah Hill gushes -- but paired with a stream of lovingly crafted doodles of, well, doodles: a delirious barrage of comedic cocks presented in blatant defiance of jibes about masculinity.

Similarly, the buddies in last year's Pineapple Express talked not only about buying each other heart necklaces but about sucking each other off. The line "I wanna be inside you, homes" might have been funny, but it was also a sincere expression of affection. On the minus side, the film also has a flaming scapegoat character -- two steps forward, one mince back, perhaps.

I Love You, Man takes this tolerant tendency to new heights. In the picture, nebbish real estate broker Peter (Rudd) realizes he has no male friends close enough to serve as his best man, so he embarks on a series of "man-dates" that lead to his connection with free-wheeling Sydney (Segel). Bonding over their use of pet names and fondness for Rush (the rock group, not the brand of poppers), the couple connect against a queer backdrop which, unlike that of, say, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry , works in concert with rather than counterpoint to their bond.

Tags: Film

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