Working in a brewery looks like a fun job for Kate (Olivia Wilde).  She has an administrative position, and as part of it arranges tastings and other functions.  She is a perfect party person, engaging, flirtatious, and conversant with around her.  The workers know her well, and she clearly knows how to handle the boss.  It is a close-knit group, and they often go for beers together after work.  

 Luke (Jake Johnson) is one of the workers who seems to have a thing for Kate.  They talk together frequently, share lunches, and sometimes socialize with their significant others.  Luke’s wife is Jill (Anna Kendrick), and Kate dates Chris (Ron Livingston).  Part of the movie is the four friends spending the weekend together at Chris’ beach house.

 Interestingly, the couples split up the first day there when Chris wants to go on a hike, and Jill is the only one who takes him up on it.  Kate and Luke remain behind, drinking beer and playing cards.  Similar pairings occur over the rest of the weekend.  Not unexpectedly, attractions arise, which will have repercussions very soon.  This is the interesting part of the film, and well written and directed by Joe Swanberg.  The best part is how Swanberg resolves the issues in the end.  Jealousies, right thinking, and upsets occur before this point, and it is never clear how things are going to turn out until the very end.

 The script is well written and interesting, although I doubt most people would be as understanding as some characters in the film; nevertheless, the tale is an interesting one to consider.

 This is said to be Olivia Wilde’s best performance in film, and I agree.  She embodies her manic-like character completely, which is impressive because, based on the times I have seen her in person, I do not think she is similar to her character at all.  Her character is appealing, but wears thin over time.  Anna Kendrick’s character is much more subdued and easier to play, perhaps, but she has played other quite different roles very effectively.  A shout-out to Jake Johnson, who very skillfully portrays the most conflicted member of the group.

 This is an entertaining film some couples may enjoy as a date movie.  

Grade:  B

Dr. Donna Copeland’s



Drinking Buddies

 Written and directed by Joe Swanberg (V/H/S), Drinking Buddies could have been staged much like last years In Our Nature, a film about two couples interacting together. However, this unscripted improve takes a turn for the interesting and puts Olivia Wilde (The Incredible Burt Wonderstone) in front of her best character and, in turn, performance of her career. Swanberg’s concept of having two couples all wrong for one another, yearning after each other's partner seems to happen a little more than we realize and his understanding of that makes this personal and inventive for the actors who basically wrote their own characters, who seem to be their alternative personalities.

​Luke (Johnson) and Kate (Wilde) work together at a popular and up-and-coming brewery in Chicago. Both are in serious relationships but they share a friendly flirtation that neither have ever acted on. Kate and Luke invite their significant others (Kendrick and Livingston) to all get together for a weekend. Kate and Luke grow closer when they begin to analyze their unhappiness with their partners; their partners, ironically, are more similar to one another and share their own flirtations. When Kate becomes single, her signals to Luke become very confusing and their friendship begins to deteriorate.

​Wilde is one of those hot actresses that is always cast as the babe in forgettable films like Cowboys & Aliens or Tron. Finally flexing her muscles in something without a big budget (she is also a producer), she shows us her depth in one of her few leading roles. Oscar nominee Kendrick (Up in the Air) is good in the film but seems to be playing a little bit more of herself than the more outspoken and uneasy characters we are used to seeing her in. The chemistry and dialogue between Johnson and Wilde is the heart of the film as we watch them mentally and verbally abuse their tight rope relationship that both sexes will identify with.

​The most annoying thing of the film is the center part where the characters seem to talk relentlessly about nothing. Sure, they are building and reinforcing their characters;  this is what people who just sit and drink together every day do, and they accomplish nothing. However, for the audience there are some boring momenta until we have scenes of conflict. You can see that although in the beginning these characters look like fun friends, by the end they are mostly sad and pathetic. The success of the film really is due to the actors, and especially Wilde, who created characters you can analyze and debate long after the film ends.

Final Thought – Olive Wilde gives the performance of her career.

By: Dustin Chase      Grade B-