Sleeping With Other People
Starring Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet, Adam Brody, Natasha Lyonne
Early buzz from the Sundance Film Festival this year was that Sleeping With Other People, director Leslye Headland’s second feature film, was an overwhelming crowd-pleaser. So I was a bit disappointed to find out that the plot seems recycled from other mainstream romantic comedies like No Strings Attached and Friends with Benefits. There is nothing new or original here despite seeing Sudeikis (We’re the Millers) being somewhat charming for the first time. Headland’s directorial debut Bachelorette was one of the worst movies of that year, so Sleeping With Other People might seem like a vast improvement, but this script has a one track mind and goes exactly where you think it will.
Lainey (Brie) and Jake (Sudeikis) who took each other’s virginity in college after a random dorm hall encounter, bump into each other at a sex addicts meeting 12 years later. Jake has become known as a womanizer who can’t commit and cheats on girlfriends to force the relationship to end. Lainey has been chasing the same guy for years, digging herself into a rejected, psychological mess. Jake and Lainey decide to be friends, best friends eventually, with the one rule that they will never have sex with each other, which could ruin their friendship. As friends they find something together that they have never had before, but both find that they cant stop thinking about the other when they are with other people.
Sudeikis and Brie manage to win us back somewhat after the ridiculous opening-scene with charming moments.
The film opens with an introduction to characters acting absurdly when they learn their significant other has been cheating. Instantly the behavior moves from absurd to unrealistic – yes this is a comedy where characters will do things normal people wouldn’t. Sudeikis and Brie manage to win us back somewhat after the ridiculous opening-scene with charming moments that seem to prove men and women can talk about sex and be friends without taking it to the next step. Ironically Headland doesn’t see the originality in that and we see the film slowly setting itself up for a predictable conclusion.
The handful of scenes featuring Peet (The Way Way Back) make me realize she is unfairly underutilized as an actress. Her character is Jake’s boss and for a few moments, before she turns into a charmed girl, she and Sudeikis have some interesting back and forth flirtatious banter where she shuts him down at every pass. Brie (Get Hard, Scream 4) is a blend of Kristen Wiig and Rose Byrne, both in looks and behavior. The dialogue contains lots of vulgar sex language for laughs or shock value, which is unoriginal and unnecessary since the intention of this film is to end up in a sentimental place.
Proves writer/director Headland is out of touch with mainstream film since this movie has already been made twice.