Drinking Buddies Blu-ray Review
There are many aspects of relationships that have been explored in film, many of which get explored in a single film, taking our characters from strangers to soul mates over the course of two hours. But most romantic films, especially romantic comedies, gloss over some of the more interesting aspects of relationships in order to speed up the film and get to the Hollywood ending. DRINKING BUDDIES is an exploration of a very specific moment of a relationship; the point where the relationship is either taken to the next step or not. It’s a complicated moment and one that almost everyone experiences multiple times in their life, but to date, no movie has explored that moment better than DRINKING BUDDIES.
The film centers on two coworkers and friends; Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson), who like to go out and get a beer after a hard day working at a brewery. Luke is in a long term relationship with Jill (Anna Kendrick), while Kate is in a dying relationship with Chris (Ron Livingston). Kate is the woman every guy wants to grab a drink with; she likes to drink and joke with the guys and has no problem pulling all nighters and skinny-dipping in the ocean. But she and Luke have an amazing chemistry that resonates on screen and watching them grow closer while they grow further apart from their respective lovers is both fascinating and nerve racking at the same time. Although their relationships with Jill and Chris are partially featured, the focus of the film lies on the special relationship between Kate and Luke. The film sucks you into their “will they or won’t they” chemistry and while many films would push you to root for them to get together or root for them to go back to their old relationships, DRINKING BUDDIES never nudges you in either direction.
As great as it was to further explore the relationship between Kate and Luke, it wouldn’t have worked so well without the great performances from Jake Johnson and Olivia Wilde. Prior to DRINKING BUDDIES, I had never been impressed with either of them. But Olivia Wilde finally found the role she’s been looking for and proved herself to be a very talented actress. She’s been relegated to bad supporting roles in movies like COWBOYS & ALIENS, but here she covers the gauntlet of emotions and balances being likeable and flawed with the skill of a seasoned actress. Jake Johnson also does a brilliant job as Luke, portraying him as a down to earth guy that’s not sure what he wants. But the greatest scene comes from Anna Kendrick, who delivers a tearful performance towards the end that had my heart in knots. It was such a tough scene to pull off, but Ann Kendrick did it perfectly.
Every romantic comedy presents a catalyst that breaks up our leading couple and then must be overcome in the third act so they can get back together. But the fact that two people can have a connection but not act on it and that connection actually remind them of how much they love the person they’re with, is interesting because one little thing could make it go the other way. Even if the two people want something to happen, the fact that it doesn’t (for whatever reason) is sometimes more interesting than if it does. That’s really the premise of DRINKING BUDDIES; it’s an exploration of two people that have amazing chemistry, but clearly aren’t meant for each other.
DRINKING BUDDIES BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: DRINKING BUDDIES looks amazing on Blu-ray. Keep in mind this isn’t a big budget film, so the fact that it looks so great is a testament to the care Magnolia put into the transfer.
Audio: The audio is equally impressive.
Commentary with Joe Swanberg, Andrea Roa and Alicia Van Coubering:
Deleted Scenes (7:13): I’m a little disappointed with these. Clearly, a lot of the film was improvised and so I’m assuming there were a lot more outtakes and deleted scenes. The handful that are included here are a little anti-climactic.
Interviews (12:51): The four stars of the film give some basic interviews about the film.
AXS TV: A Look at Drinking Buddies (3:12): Standard AXS promo.
All Things Drinking with Director Joe Swanberg and Drinking Made Easy host Zane Lamprey (29:37): Comedian Lamprey interviews Swanberg about the film. There are some chuckles, but most of the information we’ve heard before.
Behind the Scenes at Revolution Brewery (4:13): We get a tour of the real brewery used in the film.