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Joe Swanberg’s Drinking Buddies #SXSW2013
A bittersweet tale about beer and relationships.
Published on March 11, 2013 | Filed under SXSW 2013
Drinking Buddies

I think I’d be giving Drinking Buddies an unfair shake if my entire review was “it’s super cute.” But it is. Super cute, I mean. Also bittersweet. Also charming. And also very similar to a host of other romances that employ comedy and a melancholy flair. Although they aren’t even close in tone or content, DB gave me Take This Waltz feelings. Which is a good thing.

The plot is simple–will two friends cross the line and become more?–but the execution is subtle and genuinely touching. The story unravels the way it would in real life; there’s no manufactured strife or overblown arguments. The film’s realism is captivating and is what allows you to embrace the characters. Because, this is what would happen if close pals toed the line that separates them from a relationship.

And it’s funny. The natural banter and obvious chemistry between Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson is utterly adorable. And while you know these characters are playing with fire, you can’t help but want them together. It’s like a 90 minute meet-cute.

Wilde is fantastic. She’s simply captivating and this film reminded me why I adore her. She almost went unmentioned in my Burt Wonderstone review, and for good reason. I found that character pointless, useless, and quite frankly a waste of a charismatic actress. Johnson, who is in absolutely everything lately, is on point as well. I just wanted to put them in my pocket and love them forever. That’s a normal reaction, right? Ana Kendrick and Ron Livingston also deliver strong, dynamic performances.

Drinking Buddies strikes a wonderful balance. Funny, pacey, and (for the most part) light, without being trite. Strong dialogue and solid performances make this an above average romantic drama with comedic elements. (I’m trying not to call it a romantic comedy, because at some point that became a dirty word.)

Author:
Christine enjoys obsessing over Paracinema magazine. She also loves well written hour long TV dramas. Her free time is spent with her many boyfriends: Brian De Palma, Edgar Wright & Alfred Hitchcock.

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