The more I write movie reviews here on State-Lines.com, the more I wonder if, perhaps, I’m not the best person to write movie reviews. I have a knack for finding enjoyment in just about everything I watch. I do, however, feel that I have pretty good taste in movies, and know when I’m watching a good one. That being said, I was shocked after watching the new independent romantic comedy, Drinking Buddies, to find it had an average review of only 6.6 on RottenTomatoes.com.
It’s possible that I completely missed something, but Drinking Buddies hit the nail on the head for me. Honestly, I was sold before even watching the trailer. With a cast including Jake Johnson (Haas’ man crush and co-star of Fox’s New Girl), Anna Kendrick (Pitch Perfect, Up In The Air), Ron Livingston (famous for his printer smashing skills), and of course Miss Olivia Wilde (no introduction needed… okay, maybe this will do) I immediately knew that this was a movie I wanted to see.
The story follows Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) who work together at a Chicago brewery, where they spend their days drinking and flirting. The two are perfect for each other, except for the fact that they’re in long-term relationships with Chris (Ron Livingston) and Jill (Anna Kendrick) respectively. While Luke is in the midst of marriage talks with his girlfriend of six years, Kate is playing it cool with her music producer boyfriend Chris. But as the beer starts flowing the line between “friends” and “more than friends” begins to get a bit blurry.
Aside from my love for each individual cast member in this movie, I found myself pleasantly surprised with the amount of chemistry that came through between each of the characters, especially Luke & Kate. Wilde and Johnson have an on-screen chemistry that seems harder and harder to find in these days. From the simple scenes throughout the movie where the two are drinking and playing cards, everything seems natural. Add in the suspense of whether or not they’re going to make a move on each other and the comedic elements shared between the two, and this pair makes a perfect match.
One element of this film that stuck out to me was the natural feel to the acting. It was obvious that there was some major improv throughout the film, and I later learned that the actors were working solely from an outline, not a script. Overall, this gives the film a light feeling throughout without ever getting the sense that scenes are dragging on or the actors are unsure where it may be going. Much credit to Director Joe Swanburg for pulling this off.
Although this movie is lighthearted throughout, it definitely tugs on some strings. Touching on subjects of settling down in life and knowing what you want in a relationship, there are elements in this movie that we can all relate to.
Drinking Buddies will be out in theaters (most likely very selectively) on August 23d. But why wait? It’s also available right now on iTunes.