When Forgetting Sarah Marshall was released, I was shocked that a silly premise didn't lead to sloppy storytelling. These days, most Hollywood films employ the ego and stupidity factor to such lengths that emotional wackiness is the norm on the big screen. For one, friends and loved ones will make a lead feel bad to promote reflection in a story. (The Devil Wears Prada is a good example of this -- when Andy overworks, her friends berate her choice and offer no understanding, only condemnation.) But if there is nothing to chastise, scripts grab overreaction and turmoil and bathe in it -- a misunderstanding becomes a mountain of drama, a cliche or stereotype gets thrown in to amp up tension.
Dramatic twists are so tenuous that, as a moviegoing public, we have to rely on certain assumptions: Someone will do something really stupid. Someone will overreact. Egos will get in the way. Some realization will miraculously make things change. And of course, relationships are only solid so long as the script warrants it -- when drama is needed, that family tie, friendship, or romance will fall like a house of cards.
I took all of those assumptions into I Love You, Man, and missed on every one.