Directed by: John Hamburg
Written by:John Hamburg, Larry Levin
Starring: Paul Rudd, Jason Segel, Jaime Pressly, Rashida Jones, Jon Favreau, Andy Samberg
Released: June 4, 2009
Grade: A-

The romantic comedy genre has been on life support for many years.  There have been occasional glimpses of hope but my long-term prognosis was clouded with negativity and pessimism.  Its heartbeat was a little fainter with each passing day.  I didn’t think it was going to make it.

Just when all hope seemed lost… along came writers John Hamburg and Larry Levin with a cure.  Instead of sticking with familiar treatments, they have taken the genre, flipped it on its head and given it a good shake.  It was a risky move but it has done the trick. 

Metaphors aside, this is a really good movie.  Most romantic comedies end with the boy getting the girl (or vice versa).  This will starts out in reverse.  Paul (Rudd) asks Zooey (Jones) to marry him and she says “yes”.  They’ve only been dating for eight months but both are ready for a life long commitment.

Their wedding preparations hit a major snag when discussing the best man.  Most guys would have several alternatives which they’d weigh up before reaching a conclusion.  Unfortunately for Peter, he has no true friends of the male variety.  You wouldn’t call him a “ladies man” but he definitely gets along better with girls than with guys.

So what does his fiancé suggest?  Zooey tells Peter to get out there and meet some guys.  He needs to go out with colleagues after work.  He needs to go out drinking in bars.  Hopefully, he’ll meet that special someone who can be his best man.

Peter works as a real estate agent and whilst at an open house, he meets Sydney Fife (Segel).  Sydney isn’t there to buy the house.  He sees it as opportunity to pick up divorcees and eat some free sandwiches.  The two share an interesting conversation and Sydney gives Peter his business card.  Could this be the one?

Paul Rudd (Role Models) and Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) make this screenplay work.  It’s the best performance I’ve seen from Rudd.  He’s a nice guy but he has a knack for coming across awkwardly.  When finishing a conversation, he tries to throw in a cool-sounding reference but he always mucks it up.  There’s also a great scene where he’s sitting at his desk agonising about whether to give Sydney a call.  How can he ring this guy and ask him out for a drink without sounding like a weirdo?

Because this is a rather original film, I was never quite sure how it was going to end.  That’s a rare occurrence when watching a romantic comedy and it’s another reason why you need to see this film.  There a couple of nice twists which you may not see coming.  Also, there are plenty of laughs from the supporting players including Andy Samberg (Hot Rod) and Jon Favreau (Swingers).

On leaving the cinema, the first thing I said was “I loved it, man”.  I think you will too.