'Drinking Buddies' is a hard movie to describe and a type of film that most people are not used to seeing. It mixes elements of comedy, drama and romance. The film is set in Chicago and centers around two people who work in a brewery together, Kate and Luke. They have been flirting at work and at the bar for some time now it seems, bonding over their love of beer. There is just one problem with this situation, they are both in relationships. Luke is played by Jake Johnson, who fans of the hit show 'New Girl' will recognize as Nick. Olivia Wilde, known for her role on the television show, 'House M.D.' as well as several films in recent years, plays Kate.
It is somewhat unclear why, but they go on a sort of double date getaway where the four of them stay in a cabin away from the city. It is pretty easy to tell where the story is going to go from here, as they each trade spouses for some of the time in order to get to know each other better. Of course, we know that Luke and Kate have already hit it off while working together, but their significant others pack a picnic and take it into the woods together during their time together. A bottle of wine is involved, and this leads to a kiss between the two of them as well. Luke and Kate also stay up all night talking to each other and spend the night on the beach together.
Shortly after this all happens, Kate and her boyfriend Chris break up, allowing her to be free as she tells each of her co-workers at work the next day. Both Chris and Jill do not seem to take interest in what Kate or Luke do, and due to their frustration in all of this, they are able to turn to each other.
This film takes a clever look at relationships, showing how easy it can be for some people to find refuge in others, while their relationship is turning sour. None of these four people seem to be happy with the relationship that they have. Jill, Luke's girlfriend, seems to feel the worst about the whole situation. It is not far along in the film when she is forced to go to Costa Rica on business causing her to be conveniently absent for much of the film. She feels so guilty about simply kissing Kate's boyfriend Chris that she came home to confess to Luke. Little does she know that Luke has been using the entire time that she has been gone to get to know Kate even better, spending a number of nights together. She returns with such guilt and regret, wanting to finally start planning a wedding with Luke. Luke is never able to admit that he actually has feelings for Kate and while they have fun together, it seems that deep down, he knows that Jill is more of a safer choice, since they are actually thinking of getting married.
Another thing to note about this film is the dialogue, which is very natural and in fact was almost completely improvised. At times, this felt like a great change to the typical scripted comedies because the characters acted as if they would in real life. On other occasions, the dialogue was just bad and those who have seen the film already know that it could have benefited from a script in some scenes. Kate and Luke drink beer together throughout the film and begin to speak their mind, which tends to get annoying in some cases. Shortly after, Kate and Luke become more than simply drinking buddies. Olivia Wilde's character is also creative and funny at times, while Luke is just more of a bore, but perhaps this is because he is too mature for her and is right for Jill.
This film is different than many others because it does not utilize the nonsense cliches that we often see in romantic comedies. Rather than acting out a script of how people might be supposed to act, 'Drinking Buddies' takes a very realistic look at relationships and we see people acting as they normally would. It was a well-done film because it dared to be different and while some may say that it failed, it should be celebrated for its originality. It is not filled with a lot of laugh out loud moments, but rather clever lines and somewhat dry humor. The ending is left somewhat up to the audience to decide as well, since Luke and Jill are together at the end, but Luke and Kate continue to flirt as they eat lunch together at work. Overall, this film did a great job of showing how real people tend to act in relationships and while it certainly will not become a hit film, it is one of those hidden gems that are nice to find once in a while.