North Texas Daily

Review: “Drinking Buddies”

Review: “Drinking Buddies”

Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson in Drinking Buddies

Review: “Drinking Buddies”
July 29
12:00 2013

Cole Clay / Intern

3.5 / 5

In “Drinking Buddies,” writer/director Joe Swanberg (“V/H/S/”)  explores nearly every facet of male/female relationships. He asks what brings or keeps them together? Why we act a certain way?  Lastly, he proposes the most controversial question of all—can members of the opposite sex be just friends?

What Swanberg does so well with this movie is he explores these topics, but lets you answer these questions on your own despite of what the typical boy meets girl story has taught moviegoers.

“Drinking Buddies” doesn’t strive to be the fairy tale romance that audiences are used to seeing, it is instead a realistic portrayal of the social lives of everyday people. There are many gratifying elements to latch on to, but what stands out the most are the casts’ natural on screen chemistry and the perfectly simplistic plot.

Olivia Wilde (“Cowboys & Aliens” 2011) & Jake Johnson (TV’s “New Girl”) play Kate & Luke, who are co-workers at a Chicago based craft brewery. The duo is very friendly and very flirty. The problem with this is they both have significant others played by Anna Kendrick (“Pitch Perfect” 2012) and Ron Livingston (“The Conjuring” 2013). Will they cross the line and become more than friends?

Swanberg knows how to capture the minimalistic moments on film and make them special. He doesn’t try to make it the greatest love story ever told or the funniest movie ever made, but that is the exact reason why this film works so well.

He shows the characters doing mundane activities such as moving into apartments, or going to social events for work. It’s these moments that ring so true in the movie—

Swanberg brings a sense of naturalism to his characters by not giving them over top sensibilities or having them fall to the tropes of quirky independent films.

Wilde and Kendrick both make their marks on the film, but it is Wilde who delivers the standout performance. It’s her portrayal as the tom-boyish Kate that makes a strong case as Wilde’s best TV or film performance to date.

The character is this care free/fun loving girl who has become desensitized to the effects relationships have on people. But she is insecure confused and alone. Wilde finds a happy medium between the two and commits whole-heartedly to each area of Kate’s personality.

The on screen connection that Wilde shares with Johnson’s is undeniable. Their flirty demeanor with each other builds up so much delightful tension that nearly boils an hour into the movie. It’s obvious Johnson and Wilde are having fun with their sweet and sarcastic banter because it’s contagious.

“Drinking Buddies” isn’t particularly ambitious, but in this case it works, because of the overall candid tone of the movie. It’s about just what its title conveys—drinking with your buddies, and for that its a charming success.

“Drinking Buddies” comes out August 30th in limited release, but it is available right now on VOD.

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