Netflix Edition: Drinking Buddies (2013)

Director: Joe Swanberg

Stars: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick

Sentence Summary: A movie about… dating, or something. I don’t really know.

The moral of this story is that SCRIPTS AND WRITERS ARE IMPORTANT!

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So before I go any further, I guess I should admit that I am not an expert on mumblecore. To my understanding, this genre entails low budgets, largely improvised dialogue, centring abound dramatic/ romantic plots (please, correct me if I’m wrong). So based on that description, it reminds me of movies like The 40-Year-Old VirginJeff Who Lives at HomeLars and the Real Girl, and You’re Next (which is more specifically “mumble-gore”). Now I’m not sure if these movies fit exactly into the genre, but they definitely have some overlapping qualities. My point being that I am not completely opposed to the aspects that define mumblecore because all of these movies were enjoyable.

My problem with this movie in particular is that NOTHING HAPPENS! There’s no laughs, no drama, no tension, and no character development. Call me formulaic, but when I watch a movie, I sort of expect for something entertaining to happen.

This movie had a strong cast — Wilde, Johnson, Kendrick, Livingston, and Sudeikis have all not only proven themselves to be talented actors, but they have all proven themselves to be pretty funny. And yet, this movie was not even sort of funny. I get that it wasn’t really intended to be a comedy, but throwing in one or two jokes has never hurt anyone. Plus, the characters were so flat and boring that I could not even bring myself to care about them. This especially applies to Wilde’s character who was supposed to be some cool, beer-drinking, edgy woman, but she only comes across as being spoiled and immature. The only likeable characters for me, were Livingston (who was only in the movie for about 15 minutes) and Kendrick. Johnson and Wilde really fall flat as the lead characters.

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Without giving too much away, I spent the entire film debating on whether or not I should just turn it off, but I stuck it out just waiting for something to happen. Well nothing happened. The ending left me annoyed and wishing I had my 90 minutes back.

Verdict: Skip it! Maybe you could enjoy this movie if you’ve been in this exact situation, but for the other 90% of people, I would recommend almost anything else over this directionless, boring movie.

Photos courtesy of Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com)

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10 thoughts on “Netflix Edition: Drinking Buddies (2013)

  1. Reminded me of all of my friends, and the random times we spend together drinking, talking and just hanging out. Except for the fact that everybody here is a lot more attractive than the peeps I’m with. Sad to say, but hey, it’s why I love ’em all! Good review.

  2. I definitely like this considerably more than you, but I agree it isn’t perfect. I think Johnson and Wilde are dynamically though, which was enough to keep my interest. And to get a much higher rating from me. Even though I completely agree Wilde’s character is not well developed, at all.

    All the same . . . I like reading differing viewpoints – always have. Yours is no exception.

    • Maybe I just went in with the wrong expectations, but I just found it so boring, and I hate to use that word to describe anything.
      I think it would have been better if they’d allowed for more development with Kendrick and Livingston’s characters because there was an interesting dynamic there.
      Plus I think a big part of the problem for me was that I could not sympathize with Wilde’s character — her actions always seemed childish and selfish.
      I will have to go check out your review, I agree different perspectives are so important!

  3. Not enough Sudeikis and Kendrick for my tastes. Wilde’s character comes off as not having a soul that cares for another human being but herself, but never explains where that pain comes from at all. And I’m not a Jake Johnson fan most of the time. “New Girl” is the bane of my existence (mostly because of Zooey Deschanel). He seems to want to be a young Mark Ruffalo type but it just doesn’t work. If you see the movie Safety Not Guaranteed, you’ll like him even less.

    • Yeah I think it would have been so much better if Kendrick, Sudeikis, and Livingston would have had more screen time.

      And that’s what bothered me too about Wilde’s character too! Kate was so awful, and there wasn’t even an explanation to justify it. If her character would have been better developed, she might have been likeable.

      I don’t mind Johnson, so I will have to avoid Safety Not Guaranteed!

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