True Bromance

Matthew Yglesias has a cool insight into the workings of I Love You, Man, a movie I rather enjoyed:

“[I]t rips the guts out from the underlying optimism of the [romantic comedy] formula. None of the underlying tensions are resolved. Jason Segal has found no way out of his increasing isolation from his friends and peers, and Paul Rudd hasn’t discovered any real answer to the question of why he’s marrying Rashida Jones. Dad’s disavowal of favoritism between his sons is unconvincing. And yet all the underlying problems and lurking misery are completely consistent with a plot that counts as both “comedy” and “romance” in conventional terms.”

It strikes me that Yglesias is totally right here, and yet the film is still satisfying at the end – in a way that something that leaves so many loose ends ought not to be. Is it because very few of us find our “underlying tensions” resolved by the events that we are told should resolve them? You know what I mean, the movies have these conventions everywhere: leaving home, getting a new job, marriage, birth of a child, returning home. In real life though, these events are not so much resolutions as they are transpositions. Tensions (or traumas, or what-have-you) are re-contextualized so they are perhaps not recognized, but they are still there.