Sunday, September 29, 2013

Drinking Buddies: Movie Review


The criss-crossing of two relationships by four perfectly matched actors.
“Drinking Buddies” is a relationship drama and succeeds because the lines that the relationships cross, and not cross, are interesting, because the actors make them interesting. They dare us to like them and care for them and the best part is that there's a good chance that we would still like them no matter how each relationship ended up. That can be difficult when we have friends bordering on more and chemistry which could be stronger with someone else. 2013

Directed by: Joe Swanberg

Screenplay by: Joe Swanberg

Starring: Jake Johnson, Olivia Wilde and Anna Kendrick

Left to Right:Jill (Anna Kendrick) and Chris (Ron Livingston).
Courtesy of Mongrel Media
Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are friends who work at a brewery, which involves a lot of drinking on and off the job. This works so well immediately because we know that they like each other, but we don’t know to what extent that each of them are aware of their feelings. And then Luke’s long-time girlfriend, Jill (Anna Kendrick) is introduced and our feelings and expectations are already torn because he’s perfect with both of them! The casting of Jake Johnson who has the ability of invoking a realistic charm while still being immature or even lethargic or passive and Anna Kendrick who is charm personified connect us to both of them and we root for them together and apart.

Kate’s boyfriend, Chris (Ron Livingston), doesn’t fit nearly as well but that’s because Kate is really good at sabotaging her own relationships. Chris also comes across as more mature than people like Kate and Luke who literally drink on the job and can't even recognize, accept or admit their own feelings.

Left to Right: Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson).
Courtesy of Mongrel Media
When they’re alone together, the two couples start finding out, through simple conversation, who is a better match with whom. Happiness is on the line, and appropriately the comedy is dropped as the determination point for these four people is about to be found and there may or may not be a happily ever after.

Joe Swanberg has finally gone mainstream enough to make the film accessible, with many of his previous attempts being as indie as indie gets. Swanberg represents one of the most successful filmmakers to come from the mumblecore movement – indie films that focus on simplistic settings and natural dialogue. He once again chose to forego a script, and while the dialogue isn’t significant or witty, it is real. In this film in particular, the characters really do come to life. All of the actors have fully embodied their characters and we just want to watch them sort out their adult lives in search of comfort, happiness and romance.
Best of 2013