REVIEW: Drinking Buddies
There are a couple of drinking games to be played while watching the boozy new Olivia Wilde movie, appropriately titled "Drinking Buddies."
The obvious game would be to take a drink every time anyone in the film has a beer or shot. The end result of this game would be a Saturday night of a long weekend style buzz and a Sunday morning hangover.
Or, you could take a sip every time there is any sexual tension between any of the characters. The end result of this game would be a Hunter S Thompson style bender where enough alcohol to float a boat would be consumed.
Luke (Jake Johnson) and Kate (Olivia Wilde), microbrewery co-workers and drinking buddies, enjoy spending time together before, during and after work. They have great chemistry but there's a problem, they're both in relationships. Luke and Jill (Anna Kendrick) are talking about marriage while Kate and Chris (Ron Livingston) are a study in opposites.
A trip to a remote cottage reveals cracks in the facades of the relationships, but will the four way flirting lead to break ups or make ups?
"Drinking Buddies'" story seems to telegraph itself in the first half hour, but director Joe Swanberg and the cast wipe away any preconceptions with a story that doesn't go where you expect it to. It completely subverts the Rom Com Rulebook, connecting the dots in an unexpected and interesting way.
The cast is uniformly strong, but Wilde and Johnson hand in revelatory performances that bring their characters to life. They reveal themselves subtly, through natural performances and (seemingly) improvised dialogue. Better still is the film's final scene, played completely in silence that reveals as much about friendship and love as any romantic comedy can in 90 minutes.
"Drinking Buddies" feels remarkably real—except I don't believe Wilde could drink that much beer and hang on to her girlish figure—and plays like a romantic comedy for people who hate romantic comedies.