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Drinking Buddies: So hoppy together?

 

 
Overview
 

Genre: , ,
 
Starring: , , , ,
 
Directed By:
 
Studio: , ,
 
MPAA Rating:
 
Release Date: July 25, 2013
 
Length: 90 minutes
 
Directing
7.5


 
Plot
8.5


 
Acting
8.5


 
Cinematography
7.5


 
Total Score
8.0
8/ 10


 

Whoa


Character-driven rom-com, beer, good acting, good story, cool indie-rock soundtrack, and...wait, you had me at “beer.”

No


If you're looking for When Harry Met Sally-meets-microbrew culture, this is not for you.


Bottom Line

It’s not often that a film honestly addresses the factors that attract people to one another and that depicts the goodheartedness of people without resorting to the sappy soundtrack music cues and other mainstream devices that water down or manipulate good storytelling. Drinking Buddies is just such a rarity. Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) […]

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Posted September 1, 2013 by

 
Full Review
 
 

It’s not often that a film honestly addresses the factors that attract people to one another and that depicts the goodheartedness of people without resorting to the sappy soundtrack music cues and other mainstream devices that water down or manipulate good storytelling. Drinking Buddies is just such a rarity.

Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) work in a microbrewery together, immersed in the subculture of craft beer. Their significant others, Chris (Ron Livingston) and Jill (Anna Kendrick), are not part of that hop-infused world. The film portrays Kate as a strong, career-driven woman who can’t have it all, or at least not an organized apartment and the committed, sustained relationship she and Chris attempt. Drinking Buddies is sort of the anti When Harry Met Sally. We all know that sometimes – for reasons we may never realize – we completely miss our soul mates along the road of life. That’s one of Chris’s key lines in the film: “… I probably did meet somebody like that, and I probably wasn’t paying attention.”

And so goes real life: bumpy, messy, funny, bittersweet, the unexpected suddenly confronting the mundane in unpredictable ways. Platonic friendships can be complicated; romances can be hard work; individual needs can be wildly varied. Throw some good craft beer into that mix and – no, sparks don’t automatically fly – but life can be that much more interesting.

Wilde – who turned in the only above-average performance in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone – is almost incandescent as Kate, and the chemistry she and Johnson build throughout the film makes the final, wordless scene especially terrific. Both Livingston and Kendrick are formidable as well, delivering believable, understated acting. Jason Sudeikis squeezes in a near-perfect uncredited cameo, nailing the film’s most uproarious line in what is likely a stroke of improv skills he has honed as a Saturday Night Live cast member.

Writer/director Joe Swanberg deftly threads together craft beer culture with realistic characters facing life the way many of us do – with humor, resilience, fear, denial, and an immense array of other emotions and interactions (and alcohol). As the craft brewing scene has exploded in recent years, it’s about time we see a film that features the subculture in such a tight plot line. Swanberg, a craft beer enthusiast and home brewer, saw it could be done, and done well.


Mark

 
Mark Woodlief wrote for the cool '90s magazines that didn't make it – Option, Raygun, Warp, The (Seattle) Rocket, CMJ – plus some daily and weekly newspapers, too. Seeing all the great bands – Mission of Burma, Husker Du, Volcano Suns, Flaming Lips, Wire, the dBs, the Feelies, Patti Smith, ad infinitum – he has seen has left him Whopperjawed.


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