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24 Sep 2013

Home Video Review: 'Drinking Buddies' Is a Winner With a Revelatory Performance By Olivia Wilde

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Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson in Drinking Buddies. Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson in Drinking Buddies.

In Drinking Buddies, Olivia Wilde plays Kate, a microbrewery employee in a relationship with an OK but perhaps mismatched guy (Ron Livingston). Luke (Jake Johnson) is her co-worker—and he’s the perfect guy for her, but he is in a relationship with a nice girl (Anna Kendrick) who also doesn’t seem to be a perfect match.

Writer-director Joe Swanberg takes this well-worn premise and does something altogether wonderful, funny and original with it. Wilde is a revelation in the main role. She’s had a lot of showy Hollywood roles (TRON: Legacy, In Time), and this is by far her best movie effort to date. She’s sweet, funny and just a little messed up.

Johnson, so good in Safety Not Guaranteed, is equally good here, making Luke a more complex character than he at first seems to be. Kendrick and Livingston are good in the less-showy but equally important supporting roles.

This film is one of the year’s more pleasant surprises. Swanberg has a funny cameo; you might recognize him if you are one of the 12 people who went to see You’re Next. Swanberg gets huge credit for taking a well-worn premise and making it so much more than some brainless romantic comedy.

This should be the movie to propel Wilde to superstardom—but it’s likely that most people won’t see this. That’s too bad, because it’s a real winner.

It’s now available for rent on Amazon.com, iTunes and on demand. It’s slated for release on Blu-ray and DVD in December.

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