Mr. Moe’s in Coconut Grove is perhaps the last place one would expect to find actor Paul Rudd and director John Hamburg on a Wednesday afternoon. But there they were, sleeves rolled up, playing beer pong in a UM student hotspot where moose heads adorn faux log walls and Moose Juice is the obnoxiously delicious cocktail in every girl’s cup.
The establishment’s environment is so perfectly contrived, it’s almost as though Abercrombie & Fitch decided to enter the restaurant business. Even less believable is the idea that Rudd and Hamburg are here just to pal around with locals who spend their afternoons chugging beer or eating overpriced chicken wings. However, as the plethora of posters suggests, Rudd and Hamburg are on a mission: to promote their new film I Love You, Man.
But the pretense ends when the duo sits down to be interviewed. Seamlessly transitioning from chill to slap-happy, Rudd and Hamburg are more like everyday buds than the actor who’s played everyone from the hot step-brother in Clueless (1996) to the big brother in Role Models (2008) or the comedic genius who penned Meet the Parents and Zoolander. In fact, it’s less like an interview and more like an “OMG – they’re using this time to shoot the shit and it’s cool” type of experience.
After sliding into a booth, Rudd lovingly helps Hamburg clip a microphone to his shirt.
“That was an I Love You, Man moment!” Hamburg says.
The act captures the message of the film: that two adult heterosexual men can bond without compromising their masculinity.
But instead of discussing the film, Rudd and Hamburg would rather list beer pong strategies.
“Stretch,” said Rudd, before admitting he didn’t make a single shot as local television cameras recorded the action. “We were laughing because both of us were so horrible at it.”
“I came close,” Hamburg says. “Roger Clemens is an acquaintance of ours so we’re going to see if we can go down to Texas and perfect the technique.”
In person, these “humor injections,” as Rudd calls them, are funny. But how do the two know they’re being humorous when they’re on a Hollywood set instead of a bar in Miami?
“You have no idea,” Hamburg says. “When you make comedies, you go off of what cracks you up and hope that lots of other people have the same sense of humor.”
By now, it would seem as though Hamburg knows this is a given. Even as the two are rushed from Moe’s to catch a flight out of MIA, the director and actor crack jokes that inspire crowd chuckling.
Last week, it was the studio laughing – all the way to the bank. I Love You, Man brought in $18 million at the box office. I Love You, Man is a film that should be seen not only for comedic relief, but also for its important message of breaking stereotypes and just feeling the love.