Capsule Legacy

Drinking Buddies (2013)

On a whim last night, I watched Drinking Buddies (2013), based solely on the cast: Jake Johnson (one of my favorite current comic actors), Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston. I dug it way more than I expected — it’s about two friends with romantic chemistry who work together at a brewery. It’s unquestionably a product of the mumblecore movement: naturalism is the name of the game, and I’d venture a guess large bits of dialogue improvised. The key for these kinds of movies is cast chemistry, and it’s terrifically here. I found myself relating to all four main characters at various points. (I also thought it depicted the craft brewing scene, and how it fosters casual alcoholism, perfectly.)

The outcome is something special. It doesn’t hit the beats at the cadence you expect. With lots of dialogue and flirting, there’s this huge unpredictable cauldron of tension and romantic possibility.

And the movie is very well-shot and -edited, to boot.

If I must complain about something, the ending is a bit of a fizzle, too kind and gentle for what I felt it was building towards (Kendrick’s character, in particular, seems unrealistically wholesome if we take her confessions at face value).

Is It Good?

Exceptionally Good (7/8)

Note: This capsule review was originally published elsewhere. If I watch this movie again, I might expand this to a full-length review.

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