Drinking Buddies Movie Review
Olivia Wilde finally proves that she is more than a pretty face in the surprisingly entertaining Drinking Buddies, a movie that is marketed as a "hilarious comedy" but is really an engaging romantic drama.
Wilde stars as Kate and Jake Johnson as Luke, her co-worker and friend. Kate and Luke are perfect for each other... except they are both in relationships (with Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick, respectively). Drinking Buddies is about their flirtations and the temptation to blur the line between being friends and something more.
The movie is well written and even better acted, though its low key style and story won't win it any awards. Written and directed by Joe Swanberg, Drinking Buddies is exactly what it sounds like: it's a movie about friends, flirtation and beer. Swanberg doesn't try to make it anything more than that, and his disinterest in inserting melodrama or any traditional romantic hooks is what makes the movie so good.
Wilde and Johnson have terrific chemistry with one another; their performances are natural and relatable. Wilde is often accused of being a pretty face and not much else; that may be accurate in most cases, but she delivers the best performance of her career in Drinking Buddies. No one is going to shoot off fireworks to celebrate such an accomplishment, but she deserves credit nonetheless.
At only 90 minutes, Drinking Buddies is fast-paced and entertaining, even though it is by no means "hilarious." The movie is simple, fun and easy to watch, and based on my own experiences I have to assume most people will be able to relate to the situation at hand in one way or another.
Drinking Buddies may not be hilarious, explosively dramatic or even groundbreaking, but its simple charm, terrific writing and believable acting makes this drama-comedy one of the better movies of the year.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.