Review: Drinking Buddies
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Kate and Luke are flirting. Kate is with Chris (Ron Livingston) but probably wants to be with Luke. Luke is with Jill (Anna Kendrick) but probably wants to be with Kate. Chris definitely wants to be with Kate and Jill definitely wants to be with Luke. That sounds like one of the hardest mathematical problems one may ever have to work out at school – luckily, viewers of Drinking Buddies need not worry as Joe Swanberg has it sorted.
Drinking Buddies is about co-workers Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) who work in Chicago at a craft brewery, where they spend most of their time drinking and flirting. They are perfect for each other apart from the fact that they are each in separate relationships and they refuse to admit to their secret love. However, when they find themselves spending a weekend alone with each other and their friend Jack Daniels, the answers to their issues suddenly become a lot easier.
This easy-to-watch movie is a refreshing production from improvisation director Joe Swanberg who, rather famously, gives his talent storylines but no words – causing them to show their true personalities and spin on the story on set. This method is highly successful in this film with all viewers feeling an instant connection to the characters which helps engage audiences, especially as not a lot happens during it.
This is an eclectic concoction of romance and comedy with a large hole in the centre – enabling the audience to decide on what happens in the gaps. The film lacks the heavy froth that most romantic comedy’s are accustomed too which is revitalising to audiences globally – making it an enjoyable watch which doesn’t grip you to the point of choking, unlike others.
The fact that the film was set in a real brewery adds a sense of realness to the film, alongside the fact that the characters are playing a truer, unscripted, version of themselves. This also instantly flavours the film with drama at every corner as there is a genuine sense of uncertainty as to what will happen next through-out the whole film.
One downfall of both this method and its effect on the film is that – apart from the wonder on the faces of audiences as the film ends without a cemented resolution – audiences may often feel that the film could be shortened from 90 minutes to 60 minutes with ease due a few too many ‘empty scenes’ which, whilst they build on the audiences knowledge of the actors, are probably not necessary after roughly 50 minutes of the film.
Drinking Buddies relishes real world situations with a prefect representation of what real people might actually say in situation of love and heart-break, communication not with big speeches but with small moments. However, this comes at the risk of creating a room full of yawning audiences and seemingly uncontrollable beer cravings.
By James Gilmore