Friday, February 5, 2016

Sleeping with Other People


Perfectly imperfect rom-com characters.
Sleeping with Other People is a romantic comedy. It is. Writer/director Leslye Headland won’t deny it, but what makes it such a good film, is that while it does play up some of the rom-com tropes, it focuses on the characters and lets the romantic comedy plot line play out in the background while the audience gets to enjoy itself. The lead characters are Lainey (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudeikis), two people who would deny that they are the leads in a romantic comedy. 2015

Directed by: Leslye Headland

Screenplay by: Leslye Headland

Starring: Alison Brie, Jason Sudeikis

Lainey and Jake met in college while young Lainey was unabashedly pursuing a guy she was convinced was her one true love – and that night was going to be the night that he realized that too. Meanwhile Jake was just hanging out in his door room, but decided he needed to make fun of Lainey’s crush (a very un-suave Adam Scott) who wasn’t giving her the time of day. That night became the night that Jake and Lainey met and lost their virginity to each other.

Fast forward 10 years – that night was just a one-night stand, but now we really get to see the brilliance of this movie: the hilarious imperfections of Jake and Lainey. Two virgins in college are now both, independently, attending a sex-addicts meeting. Lainey has a boyfriend, but she can’t stop sleeping with the same un-suave Adam Scott, who still isn’t giving her the time of day since he’s about to get married to somebody who isn’t her. Jake (Sudeikis in very charming mode) knows exactly how charming he is, and has found the perfect way of sleeping with whichever woman he wants and then sleeping with some other woman to get out of any intimacy with either.

Lainey and Jake are both hilarious, they are both imperfect people; they will make mistakes, repeat the same mistakes, know that they repeating the same mistakes, but aren’t yet ready to admit that they are mistakes. There’s an empathy to these characters and a real-ness that makes them very endearing and relatable. Brie brings an innocence to her cheating and adultery to help make it cute rather than sociopathic. Jake is very honest in his womanizing, and truly cares about Lainey. Sudeikis has an incredible knack to ground the comedy with real emotions; connecting the audience to their relationship without missing a laugh.

Sleeping with Other People does eventually become a will-they-or-won’t-they romantic comedy but along the way we get some genuine laughter with a couple of perfectly imperfect characters, that by the end we care about them and their future happiness – if they can ever get out of their own way of achieving that.
Best of 2015