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DID YOU READ

The Trouble With Man Dates

The Trouble With Man Dates (photo)

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The first thing John Hamburg’s “I Love You, Man” teaches us is that the mean time between the Style section of the New York Times heralding a fake trend and the creation of a Hollywood comedy predicated on that fake trend is about four years. It was in April of 2005 that the Times published an article entitled “The Man Date,” which made the staggering observation that two men can have dinner and see a movie and not have sex with each other afterwards. Who knew? All those years I was doing it wrong! No wonder it took me so long to get married to a woman!

Patent ridiculousness of the piece aside, it did, unfortunately, introduce the term “man date” into the urban post-modern vocabulary, and where there’s a catchphrase, there’s usually a high concept waiting to attach itself to it in some film industry pitch meeting. Hence, “I Love You, Man,” directed by Hamburg from a script by himself and Larry Levin, gets quite a few laughs from the “man date” stuff before settling into a slightly more considered but equally funny consideration of het male friendships and their glories and discontents.

The setup is a little strained, though, which is already raising the hackles of those moviegoers Alfred Hitchcock calls “the plausibles.” Man’s protagonist is one Peter Klaven (Paul Rudd), a moderately successful but struggling-to-go-bigger real estate agent who, upon announcing his engagement to lovely Zooey (Rashida Jones), is revealed by his kvelling family — droll dad J.K. Simmons, slightly ditzy mom Jane Curtin, and hip gay brother Andy Samberg — to have never been much of a man’s man. Therefore, the dilemma of who will serve as Peter’s best man emerges. Here’s where the plausibles get gnarly: “He could ask his dad or his brother! Everybody does that anyway!” Yes, we know. But really, this area isn’t what makes Peter so suddenly and thoroughly insecure about his lack of male friends. No, it’s overhearing a girl’s night convocation of Zooey and her typically “Sex and the City” pals, who opine that Peter’s deficit in this area could mean that he’s some kind of weirdo.

In any case, the search for, um, “bromance” begins, and Peter’s disastrous sojourns involve a poker game hosted by Barry, the husband of one of Zooey’s brasher gal pals (a hilariously hostile Jon Favreau and typically energetic Jaime Pressly, respectively), and a misunderstood evening out with non-heterosexual Doug (the ever-valuable Thomas Lennon) among its comic highlights. Finally, at an open house for the “Ferrigno estate” he’s trying to sell, Paul happens upon canapé-vulture Sydney Fife, with whom he develops an affinity. Sydney is everything Peter is not: brash, vulgar, a bit irresponsible. This being a transformation comedy, the soon-to-be pals represent two extremes, and the guy who’s gonna be the married — the truly successful male! — will have to mediate between them extremes in order to achieve the aim.

03182009_i_love_you_man2.jpgIn the meantime, there are a crapload of jokes about fellatio, dog shit and Rush, and most of it’s pretty funny stuff, but it’s Rudd’s performance that keeps everything both afloat and fresh. In his recent work with the Judd Apatow posse, Rudd’s played outlandish goofballs whose antics belie the actor’s own friendly good looks. Here, he plays an introvert who suddenly decides he wants to be schticky — playing air bass to signify pleasure, making up goofy guy nicknames — and is a total schmuck at it. “Totes McGoats” is his spontaneous stab at guy-speak for “totally.” Whenever he tries to “do” a “fun” voice, he sounds like the Lucky Charms leprechaun. To watch this completely deft comic actor do such a virtuoso simulation of ineptitude is one of the film’s greatest pleasures, as is the fact that its inevitable happy end comes after a third act that doesn’t lag (or, as this picture would say, “ladge”) nearly as much as other male-centric comedies of recent vintage have.

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Final Countdown

The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at IFC.com

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.



Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…