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DVD Review: Drinking Buddies

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Drinking Buddies

Rating:
Star5
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Star

Don't be fooled by the title or the fact that this film is billed as a comedy. Yes, there are humorous moments (quite a few, in fact) throughout the film, but at its core, Drinking Buddies is an honest examination about a generation unwilling and seemingly unable to ask tough relationship questions. Especially when they involve coworkers, friends, lovers, and themselves. Director Joe (V/H/S, Uncle Kent) Swanberg, who also wrote the screenplay, continues to defy type-casting in his genre-bending, perfectly-cast sleeper hit. Already an instant watch darling on Netflix, this film received a few limited releases because, to be completely honest, most people were probably uncomfortable with the subject matter. It's not a strong R rating, and could have probably been edited into a PG-13 film if the director had wanted to do so, but that is not the point. The point is that this film explores a topic that is often brushed aside. And the brilliance behind this is the way it is presented, in a subtle-yet-realistic manner.

Actresses Olivia (Deadfall, House M. D.) Wilde and Anna (Pitch Perfect, What to Expect When You're Expecting) Kendrick shine as polar opposites; one who knows what she wants but is afraid to ask tough questions and one who has absolutely no idea what she wants and completely disregards that such questions even exist. Actors Jake (21 Jump Street, Safety Not Guaranteed) Johnson and Ron (The Conjuring, Office Space) Livingston add much-needed chemistry and banter to the strong-willed and equally likable female leads. And as an added bonus, cameos by Ti (The Innkeepers, You're Next) West and Jason (We're the Millers, Horrible Bosses) Sudeikis provide extra laughs that break up the monotony of the characters' day-to-day shenanigans.

But as the tagline suggests, there is a lot more going on than the film's premise would have us believe. And any screenwriter brilliant enough to capture an entire generation's single most prevalent problem is one that is destined for greatness. So when Swanberg slaps something like this on the DVD box, you know exactly what you're getting into. 90 minutes of awkward moments only made more awkward by characters with social skills bordering the Asperger's spectrum meeting the dangerous combination of a high daily alcohol intake. And the writer's own description really does say it all. "Luke and Kate are co-workers at a Chicago brewery, where they spend their days drinking and flirting. They're perfect for each other, except that they're both in relationships. 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 you know what makes the line between friends and more than friends really blurry? Beer." Exactly.

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