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Weekend Forecast for March 20-22, 2009

By Reagen Sulewski

March 20, 2009

Aw, they bought a puppy together. Cutest couple ever!

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In what has to be an oversight, this weekend's slate of three new wide releases does not include any that are remakes, sequels or adaptations of something. In a further upset, all three have hit potential.

A tribute to the bromance, I Love You, Man, is not a Judd Apatow movie, though you'd be forgiven for thinking so, since it's a dude-themed comedy and stars three Apatow alumni in Paul Rudd, Jason Segel and Rashida Jones. Instead, the film is from the production company of the guy who was Apatow before him, Ivan Reitman.

Rudd stars as that guy who, for various reasons, doesn't have a lot of other guy friends, but needs one to be his best man at his wedding. After going on a few "man dates", he settles on Segel, a guy who seems pretty enthusiastic for the job. This might be because he's slightly unstable and ridiculously emotional, in contrast to Rudd's hyper-reserved character. But being in contact with such a larger-than-life guy opens up his buttoned-down nature, maybe becoming more of the kind of guy that has more guy friends.

The appeal of I Love You, Man one depends largely on how much you like Rudd and Segel's wacky antics, and how much and in what way you respond to the idea of a bromance. Both Rudd and Segel broke out as leads of their own movies last year after spending several films as supporting guys – Rudd with Role Models and Segel with Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which were remarkably equal in terms of their box office, with $19 and 17 million for their opening weekends respectively. However, the overlap is pretty strong between their audiences, and this is a case where 1+1=1, or maybe 1.2. Opening in 2,711 theaters, this seems like a decent candidate to win the weekend with about $21 million.




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Duplicity arguably offers up the largest amount of cumulative star power for the weekend, in the form of Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, though you might also say that one is a bit of an underachiever and the other is resting on laurels. Despite that, the pair of actors are a pretty powerful combination for a film.

In Duplicity, directed by Tony Gilroy of Michael Clayton fame, they star as secret agents, she from the CIA, he from MI:6, who try to look past their history together to take down two rival companies for millions of dollars. Since both are born spies and born liars, neither can really trust the other, but try to anyway. Hearkening back to the caper films of the '60s, Duplicity is that rare combination of romantic, playful and adventurous.

What may be surprising is that it's been a long time since Julia Roberts has, in fact, been Julia Roberts, megastar. While she's continued to work and headline, or at least co-headline films, it may in fact be all the way back to America's Sweethearts in 2001 that she's been the biggest draw in a film that's been a hit (the Oceans films are some of her highest grossing, but trying to parcel out the credit/blame is a bit of a fool's errand). This will be a bit of a test for her, but one has to suspect that she's fallen a little in the meantime.


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