Thursday, August 22, 2013
TrustMovies hadn't already known that Joe Swanberg was the writer/director behind the new film DRINKING BUDDIES, he'd have never guessed. So focused is this film in terms of its screenplay and dialog and so attuned to that screenplay is Swanberg's tight direction that this film pretty much wipes the floor with the rest of this mumble-core movie-maker's oeuvre (some of which -- Alexander the Last and his episode from V/H/S -- TM has actually enjoyed).
Another first: While it can be said that all Swanberg's movies have involved a kind of character study, here at last we have characters worth studying. This seems to have energized Joe and his movie. Granted, he has his most professional and attractive cast to date, beginning with the woman who is in control of the movie (and not simply because she is one of its executive producers), Olivia Wilde.
Gene Tierney) who only occasionally gets an opportunity, as in last year's Butter, to really surprise us. Drinking Buddies offers another of those surprises, as Wilde's character, Kate, a smart woman with an important job at the local brewery (home to several of the film's characters), who initially appears to have it all, slowly unveils herself as someone who has almost nothing -- except a too-strong craving for alcohol.
Jake Johnson (above, left) as Luke, her best friend at work, a fellow with whom she shares a rapport that is striking and quite wonderful. The pair seems made for each other -- except that Luke already has a sweet girlfriend named Jill (Anna Kendrick, above, right), and, in fact, Kate, too, has a significant other (Ron Livingston, two photos below). For awhile at least. Also on tap is Jason Sudeikis as the brewery's owner.
James Ponsoldt's evils-of-drink movie also currently making the rounds, American independent cinema may have a lesson or two to teach us.
Magnolia Pictures and running 90 minutes, opens tomorrow, Friday, August 23, at the Landmark Sunshine Cinema in New York City and Landmark's Century Centre Cinema in Chicago. The following week it hits another ten cities, and then spreads out in a nationwide limited release over the following couple of months. Click here to see all currently scheduled playdates with cities and theaters.