Drinking Buddies

Drinking Buddies

Director: Joe Swanberg

Cast: Joe Swanberg, Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick

     
 

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Indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg wrote and directed this romantic comedy drama centering on the sexual tension between craft-brewery employees Luke (Jake Johnson) and Kate (Olivia Wilde), who wrestle with their growing attraction to one another due to the fact that they're already

Overview

Indie filmmaker Joe Swanberg wrote and directed this romantic comedy drama centering on the sexual tension between craft-brewery employees Luke (Jake Johnson) and Kate (Olivia Wilde), who wrestle with their growing attraction to one another due to the fact that they're already both in committed relationships. With Luke's marriage-minded girlfriend Jill (Anna Kendrick) and Kate's boyfriend Chris (Ron Livingston) out of the picture for a weekend, the flirtatious co-workers learn there is no denying what the heart really wants.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
Writer/director Joe Swanberg's mumblecore comedy Drinking Buddies follows several days in the lives of four people: brewery event planner Kate (Olivia Wilde); her friend and co-worker Luke (Jake Johnson); her record-producer boyfriend Chris (Ron Livingston); and Luke's girlfriend Jill (Anna Kendrick), a special-needs teacher. As the couples connect and head off to a weekend retreat together in Michigan, they flirt with the idea of exchanging partners. Later, when one of the relationships ends and the other lovers experience a brief amicable separation due to one partner's trip abroad, the future begins to seem highly uncertain. You've got to hand it to the mumblecore directors: When you walk into one of their movies, at least you know what you're going to get; unpredictability is not on the menu. As in Funny Ha Ha, The Puffy Chair, and many other pictures from this school, we're handed a group of aimless twenty- and thirtysomething people engaging in long "witty" discussions about nothing and -- on a broader narrative level -- weaving hypnotically in and out of each other's romantic lives. If this is your cup of tea, you'll find much to love in Drinking Buddies. And even if it isn't, you have to admit that Swanberg is comparatively defter at this sort of thing than his mumblecore contemporaries, such as Andrew Bujalski and the vastly overrated Safdie brothers. As a result of Swanberg's skill, Drinking Buddies sneaks up on you; at first you're put off by the vapidness of the conversations had by these IPA-quaffing ne'er-do-wells, but as the movie rolls forward you start to sink into its rhythms and care more than you expected to. The writer/director is particularly fine in one-on-one scenes (such as a penultimate exchange between Kate and Luke -- arguably the most acutely written and involving sequence in the film) in which the two friends engage in subtle mutual recriminations and inadvertently reveal some major self-delusions, both to each other and to us. Having said that, the lead actors are also quite good -- Wilde exhibits an earthy sexiness and playful wit; Kendrick does well as a quiet, affectionate girlfriend; and Jason Sudeikis has a funny unbilled role as a brewery manager. It's Livingston, however, who steals the film: Chris is so much deeper and more sophisticated than Kate and her buddies that he actually seems to exist and function on a higher plane. (Swanberg would have done everyone a favor by making the entire picture about him.) Only Jake Johnson seems miscast, playing a bearded character so grungy and unkempt that he looks like the love child of Euell Gibbons and Uncle Jesse from The Dukes of Hazzard. As a result, we have trouble accepting this guy as a romantic lead. If the film has an overarching problem, though, it's one that applies to the entire mumblecore movement: Many of these characters aren't interesting enough to sustain a whole movie, and the conflicts are so low-key and wispy that they invite viewer ambivalence. Minimalism is a very tricky thing to pull off; the Berlin School films from Germany have the same relaxed, casual approach, albeit in a deceptive way -- very real, palpable conflicts are constantly there, lurking beneath the surface of the material. But we don't often get the same magnetic pull in mumblecore, and certainly not in Buddies. Although its style cut against the mumblecore grain, American director Josh Sternfeld's criminally overlooked Winter Solstice achieved some of the same goals within a minimalist context, yet managed to keep us deeply involved throughout. In Drinking Buddies, we get flashes of that involvement, even intermittent sequences that hook us, but the feeling that we're left with is one of inconsequentiality. It's a safe bet, though, that viewers in the same age bracket and with the same lifestyle and mindset of the lead characters will be able to relate to much of what plays out onscreen.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/03/2013
UPC:
0876964006163
Original Release:
2013
Rating:
R
Source:
Magnolia
Region Code:
A
Time:
1:30:00
Sales rank:
40,857

Special Features

Deleted scenes/outtakes - with optional writer/director commentary; Interview with Olivia Wilde; Interview with Jake Johnson; Interview with Anna Kendrick; Interview with Ron Livingston; AXS TV: a look at Drinking Buddies; All things drinking with writer/director Joe Swanberg and "Drinking Made Easy" host Zane Lamprey; Behind the scenes at Revolutionary Brewing; Commentary with writer/director Joe Swanberg, producer Andrea Roa and producer Alicia Van Couvering; Trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Olivia Wilde Kate
Jake Johnson Luke
Anna Kendrick Jill
Ron Livingston Chris
Ti West Dave
Jason Sudeikis Gene Dentler (billed as 'Himself')
Mike Brune Mike
Frank V. Ross Frank
Michael Gaertner Man w/Fiance
Kristin Davis Fiance
Jim Cibak Jim
Alicia van Couvering Amy
Joe Swanberg Angry Car Guy
Michael Zeller Eli

Technical Credits
Joe Swanberg Director,Editor,Producer,Screenwriter
Mark Bennett Casting
Paul Bernon Producer
Ashley Bernon Executive Producer
Nick Biscardi Sound Editor
Amanda Ford Costumes/Costume Designer
David Kaplan Executive Producer
Jessica Klapman Executive Producer
Jesse McAlpin Sound Mixer
Akin McKenzie Art Director
Chris Modoono Co-producer
Margaret J. Orlando Production Manager
Ben Richardson Cinematographer
Andrea Roa Producer
Rajen Savjani Executive Producer
Anish Savjani Executive Producer
Sam Slater Producer
Chris Swanson Musical Direction/Supervision
Brandon Tonner-Connelly Production Designer
Alicia van Couvering Producer
Olivia Wilde Executive Producer
Mike Witherill Executive Producer
Alex Witherill Co-producer

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