Drinking Buddies Review

It’s the age-old question – can men and women really just be friends? Well Joe Swanberg enlists the help of Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson to explore the topic in a refreshing new light.

What’s it about? The film follows Kate, a tomboy who works surrounded by men in a Chicago brewery, and spends her days drinking beer and flirting with her best friend, Luke. The pair are perfect for each other but are both in relationship with someone else. Luke is in talks to marry his long-term girlfriend (Anna Kendrick) while Kate is having a casual relationship with a music producer. But can the pair really be happy to stay friends with such obvious chemistry between them?

Verdict: This is not your typical romantic comedy, so you’ll be disappointed if you expect any of the sort. Swanberg is so eager to portray reality that most of the lines in this film are improvised so it almost feels like watching people flirting on a reality show – it’s obvious to us what’s going on but they don’t seem to realise it.

It’s made pretty clear from the start that these guys drink A LOT of beer. It’s rare to find a scene where they don’t have a beer in hand or aren’t planning to go out and buy one. Surely a recipe for a drunken night of passion, which will change their lives forever right?

Swanberg takes his time with an unhurried story that has you eagerly waiting for “the moment” in a typical rom-com. Will they hook up at the couple’s weekend away? Or when they go out for yet ANOTHER night drinking beer? When Kate is upset and needs a rebound?

You find yourself more than happy to sit and chuckle at their drunken banter but become acutely aware that it’s just a way for them to cover up the deeper issues at hand.

Olivia Wilde will definitely win over the boys, the girls and the critics as she gives one of her best performances to date. And you can’t help but marvel at how gorgeous her skin is even though she’s make-up free throughout the whole film.

Jake Johnson doesn’t really stretch much past his role as Nick in New Girl for this film while Anna Kendrick also feels like she’s playing an easy role but they definitely work well together as the couple who should split but are afraid to let go.

Jason Sudeikis plays a smaller role than you would expect and while the film mainly centres on the Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson, the rapport between the work mates is fun and familiar.

Johnson has said in previous interviews that he suspects Luke and Kate would have made a great couple in their twenties but not in their thirties, and while watching the film you can’t help but wonder if the characters were younger would it be easier for them to give in to their true feelings?

Final words: A truly refreshing film that depicts a normal modern love drama between friends who clearly want to be more. You might be left craving a beer afterwards so make sure you’re near a pub!

Rating: 3.5 / 5      

Drinking Buddies is in cinemas on 1 November 2013.