Director Joe Swanberg delivers an interesting take on love and relationships with his recent film Drinking Buddies starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Ron Livingston, and Anna Kendrick. I pride myself on being able to predict where films are going, but I can honestly say I had no idea how this was going to wrap up until the credits rolled. Drinking Buddies is a fresh, honest look at friendship, love and commitment.
Kate (Wilde) and Luke (Johnson) work at a craft brewery in Chicago. Both are involved with other people, Jill (Kendrick) and Chris
(Livingston). However, they don’t let that get in the way of being workplace best friends. The relaxed atmosphere of the brewery adds to the intermingling relationships between the employees and they frequent bars as a team. Things get really confusing when Kate and Luke go on a double date weekend and find themselves spending more time together than with their significant others. Add some locally brewed beer to the mix and all bets are off.
Swanberg wanted to tell a “different kind of love story” and had a firm idea in place long before filming began. However, the improvisational style allowed the actors to take their characters to interesting places organically. All the actors involved commented that it was one of the best shooting processes they had experienced and Olivia Wilde said it gave her a chance to really act and explore her character. The pacing is certainly relaxed and perhaps too slow for some viewers, especially if looking for something more typical. But Drinking Buddies delves into the characters and allows audiences to form opinions of their own.
The Verdict: While not for those looking for a traditional romcom, Drinking Buddies gives us an unorthodox portrayal of romance and friendship, while examining human relationships and the different forms love can take.
Opens: March 13, 2013
Director: Joe Swanberg
Cast: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston, Ti West, Frank V. Ross, Mike Brune, Joe Swanberg