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Parents' Guide to

Drinking Buddies

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Lots of drinking in romantic indie dramedy.

Movie R 2013 90 minutes
Drinking Buddies Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 17+

Based on 1 parent review

age 17+

Extremely minimalist dramedy brings the realism

While I still have some big problems with this movie, it certainly a brought a level of freshness to me that I thought was all wrung out of the romcom genre...if you can even call it that. If this were a Hollywood project, you know exactly how "two couples who get together for a weekend and and then something happens and the whole dynamic changes" would go down. Instead we get focus on the small details. We don't get the hookup: we get the goofy, middle school-esque flirtation before the hookup. In this way director Joe Swanberg seems to be honing in on the more intimate details of these characters, mainly Kate (Wilde) and Luke (Johnson), whose dynamic throughout is will they/won't they. Now, first off: this movie shows these characters, with actually not that much consequence drinking CONSTANTLY. Like seriously. Besides movies like "Days of Wine and Roses" and "The Lost Weekend" where the focus of the film was alcoholism, I've never seen characters in a movie drink so often! Wilde said that sometimes the drinking was real, sometimes it wasn't. Take that for what you will, but also consider Swanberg had his actors ad-lib the ENTIRE thing!! That's also something I think I've rarely seen. Come to think of it...this movie had a lot of "um's." Actors are paid to say what's in their scripts, and an actual, genuine um is hard to find. So it had an improvised charm to it, and if you didn't know the whole thing wasn't improvised it wouldn't take anything away. It's a unique piece without feeling too experimental, but here's what gets in the way for me: you don't know anything about these people. You have no investment to these two good-looking white alcoholics (let's call it like it is!), Anna Kendrick's Jill likes art, and Ron Livingston's Chris likes poetry. You see their reaction to the romantic entanglements that happen in the movie, but you get 0 background on who they are as characters. Maybe that was a choice, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. But I love the effort put into this very small film, that probably spent most of its budget on brewery equipment and the quartet of famous people starring in it. Oh, and there's Jason Sudeikis, whose appearance can only be rationalized because his wife helped exec-produce it. Don't waste Sudeikis in a tiny part! Overall, I think this is a fine movie for the R-rated crowd to watch. I was rarely bored. It shows you even with no budget and no script you can still make a good movie. That's quality filmmaking, Mr. Swanberg.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (3 ):

The film can be maddeningly slack at times, but it's rewarding nonetheless. Ambiguity is often the kiss of death for a movie -- that is, if it's mindless and stylized. But in DRINKING BUDDIES, ambiguity isn't just a cinematic device to prevent a filmmaker from making a commitment to a storyline; it's the thread that binds the relationships that are explored here. Kate and Luke adore each other, but they're just friends. (Friends who snuggle, anyway.) But Luke loves his girlfriend, and Kate likes her boyfriend enough ... though she also likes flirting with other guys.

One minute we feel certain about who deserves to be together, but then an exchange or interaction takes the story somewhere else, much like the way life works out in real life. Drinking Buddies is a smart, savvy questioning of male-female friendships, the ties that bind, and the loose ends that prevent outright entanglements.

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