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I know, I know, it sounds like it should be the hundredth installment of the popular Buddies franchise. You know, the ones where a group of golden retriever puppies do things together? No? Anyone?
Why bury the lead any further? I loved Drinking Buddies. To be fair, I’m always a suckerfor the same person writing and directing, I feel the emotion is better conveyed and that was certainly the case in Joe Swanberg’s film.
The story follows the lives of Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) who, as you may or may not have guessed, are drinking buddies. Additionally, they are also co-workers at a Chicago based brewery. They’re joined by onscreen significant others Chris (Ron Livingston) and Jill (Anna Kendrick), respectively. It’s a story of life, love, and friendship as each struggle to define themselves in those areas and in the process tests the boundaries of their love and friendships.
What makes Drinking Buddies truly unique is that there was no script. They had a storyline and scenes, but all the dialogue was improvised. At times this makes it seem like they might be acting poorly, but in reality they’re not really acting at all. It definitely takes some getting used to because we’ve come to expect crisp dialogue with little pauses in film, which in reality is unrealistic. Once you get used to this style, similarly to how you’d get used to a shaky camera in a lost footage film a al Blair Witch, you come to truly appreciate what the actors are doing. Drawing from their time together and from their own experiences they create an emotional experience that’s real and relatable.