MIFF 2013 Review: Drinking Buddies (2013) — A Loosely Scripted but Massively Charming Bender

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Independent darling and micro-budget director extraordinaire Joe Swanberg has been a busy guy: he has over a dozen directing credits to his name in the past ten years, not to mention a large number of acting appearances and producing credits. A pioneer of the “mumblecore” movement has certainly been churning out the features, which have honestly not made any major waves outside of the festival circuit. The romantic comedy Drinking Buddies may be his mainstream breakthrough picture; a slightly higher budget has brought with it a more recognisable cast, which in turn should make it more attractive to a wider audience. The good thing is that Drinking Buddies does deserve a wider audience due to its charming leads and realistic take on modern romance.

This promo pic is phony: Jake Johnson has a beard throughout the movie.

This promo pic is phony: Jake Johnson has a beard throughout the movie.

The film follows Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson), workers at a Chicago brewery. They share an undeniable chemistry; they drink hard and they flirt hard. These feelings go unspoken due to both of them being in relationships with other people (Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick, respectively). Things come to a head when the two couples take a weekend vacation that rocks the foundations of both these partnerships, who then have to traverse rocky terrain filled with sexual tensions and relationship hurdles.

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