What follows is, of course, the education of Peter by Sydney (a name that is pointedly non-gender specific). Peter, a man who is very happy having girlfriends, reluctantly ventures out into the world of men. With the help of Sydney, he adapts so well that he almost loses his ability to relate to women. He “dies” and is re-born as a man who can comfortably say “I love you” to both Zooey and Sydney.
That’s the cookie-cutter description. But what gives this batch a special flavor and varied shapes is the cast. Rudd has always been an impressive comedic actor and he is hilarious here. His fumbling phone call asking Sydney for a date is a classic, a wonderful bit of verbal comedy. His slightly drunken walking about the sidewalk after that date is slapstick heaven on par with Monty Python’s "Ministry of Silly Walks."
And Sydney is an amazing creation. The way he strolls down Venice Beach wearing t-shirt, shorts, boots, and total self-assurance is unforgettable. The way he and Peter jam together in his “man cave” and dance exuberantly at a Rush concert are the types of moments that make you want to drop everything and just hang out with the characters.
The neat twist is – after watching a ridiculous number of movies where a man discovers his feminine side – here is a movie that reverses the formula. Real men do need to be feminine – and masculine – after all.