Drinking Buddies Review
If you look at the title "Drinking Buddies" and you see that it stars Jake Johnson, Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston and Jason Sudeikis, you definitely think slapstick comedy. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that "Drinking Buddies" had a lot more on its mind that humor.
Don't get me wrong, "Drinking Buddies" is very funny. There are many moments where I chuckled, many moments where I smiled and many moments where I giggled until my stomach hurt. But the humor wasn't the factor that drew into the film, it was the drama. Writer and director Joe Swanberg has created a delightful little gem that will affect viewers in more ways than one. Swanberg has big things to say about relationship dynamics, friendships, and when people may or may not be crossing a line when it comes to both of those. Its intelligent, slick filmmaking. Something that touched me deeply.
The film is about friends Luke (Jake Johnson) and Kate (Olivia Wilde) who both work at Revolution Brewery in Chicago. They spend their days working, drinking and flirting. For a stretch of the opening, one could mistake them being in a relationship together, except their not. Luke is dating Jill (Anna Kendrick) who wants to get serious about a marriage conversation, while Kate dates a socially awkward Chris (Ron Livingston). The couples eventually go on a cottage trip together, and everything changes. Jill and Chris end up secretly kissing, while Kate and Luke hang out most of the trip. Nothing out-of-order happens between the two, but something seems odd when they can't seem to stop hanging out together.
Like I said, after the trip everything changes, and this leads to Luke being extra protective and needy around Kate. The rest of the film is about the friendship between Luke and Kate and how it tiptoes between becoming something more or not. The film is driven by its actors and its incredible how well this cast does. This is completely unlike anything we have seen from any of these actors. I am particularly amazed by Olivia Wilde in this movie, because this is absolutely nothing like anybody she's played before. Wilde proven right away that she has range, that she's more than a pretty face. Given time, if she gets more roles like this, she'll be a star awaiting to become supernova. Everybody does unsuspecting, gracious work in this movie and makes the film very strong.
I think Swanberg is a voice to look forward to in the future, and I think everybody should check out "Drinking Buddies."
FINAL GRADE: A