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Eventually a guy walks into the bar who looks about right. "Glasses that's a plus," Rudd says. "And some sort of a knapsack." But suddenly Rudd's training from the film deserts him. "What do we do?" he asks. "Make eyes at the guy? Hold a gaze a little long? How do we initiate it?" After a while, Rudd gets up and asks the bookish guy if he wants to sit with us. Two minutes later, Sammy Politziner, 31, an investment banker, and Rudd are talking about the University of Michigan football team, quoting Steve Martin movies and comparing outfits by looking at each other's tags. (Sammy is wearing Banana Republic; Rudd, J. Crew). We all, I believe, have the comforting and horrifying epiphany that all men are, at least in the short term, interchangeable. Then Politziner says, "We're three married dudes. I wonder if there's a thrill of the chase missing from our hormones that we're searching for." To which Rudd replies, "I think so." This exchange does not sound as gay as it does poignant and questioning. If you need help imagining this scenario, try drinking four pints of Guinness. (See pictures of Denver, Beer Country.)
Politziner, who knew the plot of I Love You, Man two months before its release, quickly endears himself to me by asking Rudd far better questions than I was asking. When Rudd mentions playing Lisa Kudrow's boyfriend on Friends, Politziner asks, "Was she a good kisser?" Rudd deflects with "Well, I knew her husband," and then explains that TV kissing rarely involves tongue. Politziner also finds out the best ad-libbers Rudd has worked with (Will Ferrell, Steve Carell and Jane Lynch), his favorite books (Pete Hamill on New York history), where he lives (he rents an apartment in the West Village and recently bought a weekend house in upstate New York) and what he's been working on (Rudd and some friends wrote a sitcom about actor-caterers called Party Down that airs on Starz starting March 20). I am considering bringing Politziner to all my interviews, because having him there allows me to drink and text the friends I still have after getting married.
And as good as Rudd is at being interviewed, he's not bad at interviewing either. Politziner, it turns out, once worked as a waiter at Café du Monde in New Orleans, watches The Bachelor and has a Lisa Kudrow thing. These are the confessions that build male friendships. There may, or may not, be a puppy on my iPhone home screen.
After about an hour, our new friend has to leave for dinner. As we walk out into the cold with the satisfaction of men whose mission is complete, Rudd seems just as smiley as when we walked in. I get the feeling that even if Politziner had been a Clueless-hating jerk, Rudd would have been just as smiley. He's that rare, edgy, adorable leading man you could drop into any bar. Or any movie. I think he could even handle being in one with a woman.