FilmReview

Review: Drinking Buddies Takes On Relationship Complexities One Pint At A Time

Shannon O’Connor ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor-In-Chief

Drinking Buddies is not your average comedy or even your average romantic comedy; it is in a category of its own.

In its 90 minute runtime, Drinking Buddies explores the complexity of relationships, especially the growing complexity of the relationship between two best friends, Luke (Jake Johnson) and Kate (Olivia Wilde), who are each in romantic relationships.

Jake Johnson and Anna Kendrick in Drinking Buddies, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
Jake Johnson and Anna Kendrick in Drinking Buddies, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Colleagues at brewery in Chicago, Luke and Kate spend their days (and nights) drinking beer, laughing and flirting. However both are in relationships. Luke has been with his girlfriend Jill (Anna Kendrick) for 6 years and the couple is amidst marriage talks. Kate has been with Chris (Ron Livingston) for 8 months.

After an interesting and entertaining couples weekend at Chris’ cabin, things begin to change for the two best friends and their significant others. Chris realizes Kate is not as into him as she says and calls it quits. Thus, leaving Kate devastated and on the rebound. With Jill on a trip to Cambodia and Luke spending much of his time with Kate the remainder of the film boils down to will-they-won’t-they suspense.

Brilliantly directed by Joe Swanberg, Drinking Buddies gives audiences an inside look at the best friends struggle to remain friends and hang onto their romantic entanglements. At times the film seems almost like a documentary, as Swanberg shoots the film in such a way that makes the audience feel a part of the story.

Olivia Wilde in Drinking Buddies, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
Olivia Wilde in Drinking Buddies, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

The film is entirely improvised, which also explains why the film seems so natural and realistic. Wilde, Johnson, Kendrick and Livingston all bring brilliant performances and depth to their characters, making them more and more relatable with every second of screen time they are allotted.

While all the actors balance the heartbreak and the humor astonishingly well, Wilde, who deals with the most emotion and confusion in the film, shines. As she is stunning in the film, audiences never for a second think she is anything but a regular person unlucky in love and struggling to find it.

Full of laughs and plenty of emotion, Drinking Buddies takes on the complexity of relationships, one pint at a time.

Drinking Buddies is available OnDemand, on iTunes and in theaters. 

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