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Drinking Buddies movie review: Tastes great, less filling

How do you know when you’ve met “the one”? Apparently, you drink a lot of beer with your opposite-sex colleagues and see what happens. At least, that’s what Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson do in this improvised indie film that presents a sobering view of love.


Drinking Buddies

2.5 Stars: Perfect for couples trying to figure out where they stand

Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (The New Girl’s Jake Johnson) work together at a craft beer brewery. They have fun, they hang out, but both are attached to significant others. Kate’s boyfriend Chris (Ron Livingston) is a bit of a control freak and Luke’s live-in girlfriend Jill (Anna Kendrick) thinks she’s ready to tie the knot. On a weekend at a mountain cabin, the two couples try to sort out their feelings and objectives.

Kate and Luke shun their partners to spend time together drinking beer and playing cards, while Chris and Jill decide to take a long hike. It’s on this hike that Chris and Jill share a passionate kiss that will have big ramifications for all four souls.

Drinking Buddies

It’s clear that Kate and Luke are very similar to each other in temperament and both enjoy being slightly irresponsible. A physical attraction between them complicates their friendship and leaves them both wondering if they could love each other. Meanwhile, Kate puts some distance between herself and Luke, making Luke even more confused.

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Drinking Buddies

This movie explores the machinations of relationships and the fear most people have of commitment. Director Joe Swanberg worked without a full script, allowing the actors to improvise each scene, which worked well and provided some very witty dialogue. Actress Olivia Wilde is talented and beautiful, but way too skinny to play a woman who drinks that much beer. Her physique is that of a ballet dancer, not blue-collar barfly. Luckily, she and Jake Johnson had terrific chemistry.

Bottom line: This is a very realistic dissection of two relationships that feels very relatable, but not terribly entertaining.

Run time is 90 minutes. There are no extra scenes after the credits.

Photo credit: Magnolia Pictures

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