Drinking Buddies (2013)

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Directed by:  Joe Swanberg
Written by: Joe Swanberg
Starring: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston and Jason Sudeikis (uncredited?)

This is one of those movies that we all complain is missing from Hollywood, because it is heartfelt, truthful and real, but when it comes down to it we want the payoff.   Joe Swanberg creates a true-to-life romance about two good friends who sense but try to ignore the tension between them.  It is a quiet film that unfolds as you imagine life to unfold, but is missing any quirkiness that could have elevated it into something greater.

What I liked: Swanberg does a fine job bringing out the most honest performances from each of his actors.  Olivia Wilde is effortless as a working woman trying to understand herself.  Jake Johnson, with the help of a little facial hair and fine acting, sheds all traces of New Girl’s Nick Miller, while maintaining a comedic streak that endears us to both characters.  Together Wilde and Johnson have such chemistry that we can enjoy the journey, if not the ending.

What I didn’t like:  I appreciate Swanberg’s effort to bring real-life to the screen without the cliched meet-cutes or gimmicks that can be spotted a mile away; and yet the movie is so real that when all is said and done we discover there were no stakes and no consequences.  Drinking Buddies is a film that, even though we sense a change in character at the end, feels too linear, like a reality show without forced drama.

My rating:  Take the tension but leave the rest.

IMDb: 6.0        tomato: 69%

Release Date:  July 25, 2013

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