Friday, June 14, 2013

Drinking Buddies

Luke and Kate are drinking buddies, and a little bit more. In contrast to Frances Ha, this is a story about male/female best buddies whose attraction seems to put their relationships in constant peril.

Kate's with a somewhat older dude, Chris, but she's not that into him, something he senses pretty readily. Luke's been with Jill for years, but he keeps putting off The Wedding Talk, which makes Jill insecure and unsure that he's really into her.

They get together for a weekend at Chris's cabin in the woods, and even here, it's clear that Luke and Kate are more comfortable and suited to each other than they are with Jill and Chris. Jill and Chris share a surreptitious kiss, in fact, which makes you think that this is going to play out in the traditional  rom-com or rom-dram fashion with a little partner swapping.

The movie plays with those expectations quite a lot, while never giving you what you expect. This makes it more interesting than it would've been had they played it by the numbers, and it's a solid little effort from writer/director Joe Swanberg (LOL, V/H/S).

"New Girl"'s Jake Johnson plays Luke. Olivia Wilde does a good job as the loose, lost Kate. Anna Kendrick is delightful, as always. Ron Livingston, forever cast as a guy who does nothing, is Chris.

We liked it well enough. Somehow, it's sort of hard to care about...anyone. Also, toying with the expectations of the audience and not delivering on those is one thing, but not having anything of equal-or-greater dramatic (or comedic) value makes it hard to achieve greatness.

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