Olivia Wilde's 'Drinking Buddies,' The Smartest Comedy of the Year
'Drinking Buddies' is one of the most easy watching and clever comedies of the year.
Joe Swanberg's new comedy Drinking Buddies is set in a craft brewery, in Chicago. It's not your typical setting or the likes of Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Jason Sudeikis to 'do their thing,' though it works, to perfection, in places.
Jake Johnson [L] and Anna Kendrick [R] Star in 'Drinking Buddies'
It premiered at the 2013 South by Southwest Film Festival whilst also screening at the Maryland Film Festival and received solid reviews. It follows Kate and Luke (Wilde and Johnson), co-workers at the brewery where they spend their days drinking and flirting.
Essentially, they're perfect for each other but they're both in relationships - Kate with Chris, a smarmy music industry guy (Ron Livington), and Luke with Jill, a friendly dependable partner (Kendrick).
Jill is ready for marriage and keeps bugging her boyfriend, though a trip into the woods for a weekend vacation throws up an unexpected turn of events that leaves one relationship dead and another teetering on the brink.
The idea for the movie came from Swanberg's amateurish foray into beer making, after his wife bought him a surprising birthday gift. "She gave me a home brewing kit - probably about four years ago now, just as I was starting to get into drinking better quality beers and noticed that there was a lot of local stuff brewed in Chicago. Plus I also needed a hobby that wasn't filmmaking," he told the Chicago Sun-Times, "It's just kind of funny that my hobby came full circle and got turned into a film!"
Olivia Wilde [L] and Jake Johnson [R] In Drinking Buddies
Swanberg shot Drinking Buddies in three weeks during the summer of 2012, on a shoe-string budget - but how did he get some of the biggest names in Hollywood to sign up? "Clearly, they did this for love - because they wanted to - and not for money," he explained.
"The thing about Olivia: She's smart. She's really an engaged person," he said of the movie's biggest draw, "But when I talked to her about 'Drinking Buddies,' I could tell that from the other movies she was doing at the time, she was at the point in her career where she was ready to do something like that."
The movie boasts a hugely credible score of 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. Peter Debruge of Variety said in his positive review: "It's not that the insights into how Swanberg's generation lives today are any more profound (they're not), but it's encouraging to see what professional actors, a musical score and a modicum of technique can do to spruce up this observational comedy."
Drinking Buddies hits theaters in the U.S. on Friday (August 23, 2013).
Anna Kendrick [L] and Ron Livington [R] Ditch Beer For Wine