I like Olivia Wilde, especially her presence on Twitter. I love Jake Johnson on the New Girl and in Safety Not Guaranteed. Anna Kendrick is all things adorable and awesome. I’m pretty indifferent on Ron Livingston but 3 out of 4 actors made this movie about relationships and people who work in a brewery seem cool. What I didn’t know until reading some reviews was that the movie was mostly improvised. I know it’s a tactic used a lot in different kinds of films, especially mumblecore, but I’d say it definitely hurt this movie. All of these actors I normally like were pretty uncomfortable, and not in any sort of good way, on screen. Olivia Wilde actually seemed to have the best grasp on it. All the improvised small talk in transition scenes seemed reallyyyy uncomfortable. Is it possible seeming too real is actually really awkward on film?
I know a lot of great movies tell stories where not much happens. I mean, I just watched a movie where a futuristic Robot helps and old man rob people. OK that’s probably a bad example. There was way more relationship development there. I can see how in Drinking Buddies they show a more real, bare bones way relationships and friendship interactions play out. But it wasn’t all that interesting. Truthiness isn’t inherently great unless it provokes something bigger. Like in comedy, where a comic makes a relatively obvious statement but brings it to a context that is hilarious BECAUSE it’s overbearingly honest. Anyway. Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson are clearly connected and attracted to each other but for whatever reason are both avoiding that conversation. Oh right, he’s been dating the same girl since she (or they?) were 21. Olivia Wilde is dating boring Ron Livingston until he kisses Anna Kendrick on a hike, where she provokes the moment. Also, Ron has no chemistry with anyone, and the attempts at flirting or whatever where painfully uninspired. Ron breaks up with Olivia but Jake and Anna just keep on keeping on. Jake gets pissed off at Olivia flaunting her single-ness. She manipulates his feelings so they hang out, clearly needing him as a support. When Anna goes away on a college reunion trip, Jake and Olivia get far too close for anyone with a serious significant other. It seems like the movies asks: who is more in the wrong – the one time interaction that brought up feelings and a kiss, or the long time friends clearly too close for comfort but keep the line blurred by not saying anything important.
Here’s what I don’t get. A lot of people crossed lines. They’re all wrong. Anna comes home early to tell Jake about the kiss and he basically forgives her immediately. Cool. I can get that, it was a small thing. He’s the one that showed up with a destroyed hand and busted face after his long weekend of closeness with Olivia and it’s not even questioned. Then we end on Olivia and Jake back at lunch with their usual, albeit recovering friendship. Did anything change? Did it need to? Maybe that extreme closeness where the line got the blurriest had to happen between Olivia and Jake to lead the fight that forced them to redefine their boundaries. The goofball friendship. Anna kissed Ron but felt guilty and told Jake about it, but tried to justify her guilt by pressing the marriage issue that seems to strain a relationship that has little momentum but a lot of comfort. It’s almost like the movie could be a companion to Take This Waltz – it’s easy to get excited about something that seems new or different than what you have, but the reality will leave you in the same place you started. That saying, “wherever you go, there you are.”
Basically, this movie was a slice of life style story where not much happened, and the acting suffered for a lack of structure. It made me think but I was unimpressed, even while chugging some beers during the process.