Starring Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston, Jason Sudeikis
Written and directed by Joe Swanberg (V/H/S), Drinking Buddies could have been staged much like last years In Our Nature, a film about two couples interacting together. However, this unscripted improve takes a turn for the interesting and puts Olivia Wilde (The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) in front of her best character and, in turn, performance of her career. Swanberg’s concept of having two couples all wrong for one another, yearning after each other’s partner seems to happen a little more than we realize and his understanding of that makes this personal and inventive for the actors who basically wrote their own characters, who seem to be their alternative personalities.
Luke (Johnson) and Kate (Wilde) work together at a popular and up-and-coming brewery in Chicago. Both are in serious relationships but they share a friendly flirtation that neither have ever acted on. Kate and Luke invite their significant others (Kendrick and Livingston) to all get together for a weekend. Kate and Luke grow closer when they begin to analyze their unhappiness with their partners; their partners, ironically, are more similar to one another and share their own flirtations. When Kate becomes single, her signals to Luke become very confusing and their friendship begins to deteriorate.
The success of the film really is due to the actors, and especially Wilde, who created characters you can analyze and debate long after the film ends.
Wilde is one of those hot actresses that is always cast as the babe in forgettable films like Cowboys & Aliens or Tron. Finally flexing her muscles in something without a big budget (she is also a producer), she shows us her depth in one of her few leading roles. Oscar nominee Kendrick (Up in the Air) is good in the film but seems to be playing a little bit more of herself than the more outspoken and uneasy characters we are used to seeing her in. The chemistry and dialogue between Johnson and Wilde is the heart of the film as we watch them mentally and verbally abuse their tight rope relationship that both sexes will identify with.
The most annoying thing of the film is the center part where the characters seem to talk relentlessly about nothing. Sure, they are building and reinforcing their characters; this is what people who just sit and drink together every day do, and they accomplish nothing. However, for the audience there are some boring momenta until we have scenes of conflict. You can see that although in the beginning these characters look like fun friends, by the end they are mostly sad and pathetic. The success of the film really is due to the actors, and especially Wilde, who created characters you can analyze and debate long after the film ends.
Olivia Wilde gives the performance of her career.