DRINKING BUDDIES Movie Review
Romantic comedies have become a joke to many film critics. At their worst they’re predictable, soul-sucking ventures in cinema. At their best, they’re predictable, sappy escapes into mindless entertainment. Drinking Buddies is part of new modern rom-com that ditches the tropes in hopes of making a great comedy about romance, not a romantic comedy. Other members of this new club are Crazy Stupid Love, (500) Days of Summer and Going the Distance.
Drinking Buddies follows Kate (Olivia Wilde) as she balances her relationship with Chris (Ron Livingstone) and her best friend Luke (Jake Johnson). Throw in the wrench that is Luke’s girlfriend/wannabe fiance and you’ve got the makings for a dramatic love square. However, instead of going the traditional will-they-won’t-they route, the film lets these friends function as friends who support each other through good and bad times in a very honest way. Instead of making Luke’s girlfriend (Anna Kendrick as Jill) an evil villain that Kate must overcome, she’s a very likable character that you can completely relate to in this situation.
The performances by everyone are just so damn likable. While traditional rom-coms paint the competing love interests as flat and obviously the wrong choice, Drinking Buddies offers layers to even the soon discarded lover and sidelined girlfriend. While traditional tropes make the audience expect a certain storyline and outcome, Drinking Buddies shows a much more honest portrayal of a particular friendship/relationship dynamic. It’s so honest in this that’s it’s refreshing. It’s a messy, confusing time in these friends’ lives, made all the more complicated by their easy access to beer at their brewery jobs, it’s occasionally even uncomfortable to watch.
While the ending is not the proto-typical rom-com, it does leave it deliciously ambiguous, allowing the audience to project their own romantic aspirations upon them. Take a date and see where you land on the spectrum of their future, it could reveal a bit about the person.
Drinking Buddies is on VOD now and will be in theaters on August 23, 2013.