Drinking Buddies


Quick Stats

Genre: , ,
Actors: , , ,
MPAA Rating:
Release Date: 25th July 2013
Length: 1 hour 30 minutes
Storyline: Kate and Luke are best friends who work together at a brewery. Chris and Jill are their respective partners. After a trip away, the beer flows and things start to get complicated.
Studio: Burn Later Productions
Producer: Ashley Bernon, David Kaplan, Jessica Klapman, Anish Savjani, Olivia Wilde, Mike Witherill, Paul Bernon, Andrea Roa, Sam Slater, Joe Swanberg, Alicia Van Couvering, Chris Modoono, Alex Witherill, Michaela McKee
Written By: Joe Swanberg
Plot / Story






Total Score

User Rating
4 total ratings


What We Liked

The characters are brilliantly well-drawn and the actors are superb. This is also a great-looking movie.

What We Disliked

The plot just drifts along and the dialogue is, at times, frustrating because so much is left out.

Bottom Line

This is a great movie for anyone who likes beer and characterisation. The actors are good, the settings are attractive, and the plot is relatable. It does a good job of examining complicated friendships and all the blurred lines that come with them.

Posted May 6, 2014 by

Buy, Rent or Cinema

Full Review

Drinking Buddies opens with an introduction to what looks like the perfect workplace: a trendy Chicago brewery staffed by good friends and run by the laid-back and beautiful Kate (Olivia Wilde). The flirty friendship between Kate and best buddy Luke (Jake Johnson) is clear from the start, right down to the slight awkwardness between Kate and Luke’s long-term girlfriend Jill (Anna Kendrick). Wilde handles the complexities of Kate’s day-to-day life wonderfully: the chemistry between her and Luke, the clear incompatibilities with her own boyfriend Chris (Ron Livingston, for once actually unlikeable in a role), and the fact that everyone sees those incompatibilities except her are all out in the open. When the four take a weekend trip away, it becomes even more apparent that Chris is not the man for Kate: he goes off to hike and chat with Jill, while Luke and Kate hang out and drink beer. As events unfold, relationships become more blurry and tension mounts among the four.

Jake Johnson once again brings everyman charm to a role; Luke feels very real as a man in a happy relationship who is nonetheless reluctant to fully commit. Anna Kendrick gives an understated, nuanced performance as Jill, who just can’t help herself when it comes to pushing for marriage. She shouldn’t be sympathetic; in a typical movie she would be thrust into an “uptight, boring girlfriend” role while the audience marked time waiting for Luke and Kate to get together. But Drinking Buddies, for all its flaws, is not a typical movie. The relationships, from the clear lack of spark between freewheeling Kate and solemn Chris to the casual bonds between the brewery workers, are drawn fairly realistically.

Part of this realism comes from the fact that the movie is improvised. The actors knew their characters and what was to happen in each scene, but that was it. At one point, according to IMDB, Ron Livingston showed up to film a scene with Olivia Wilde having no idea what their relationship was meant to be. The improvisation has both good and bad aspects. On the plus side, it adds a feeling of realism and heightens the awkwardness and tension that is so prominent in the movie. On the other hand most actors are not writers, and there is a frustrating sense that important things are being left unsaid and that issues are going unresolved.

This frustration is increased by the way the movie is paced and filmed. The almost documentary-style camera work often seems unspecific and can get irritating. As for the plot, it just… drifts along. There is a lot of drinking, a lot of talking, and the occasional significant event. Very few scenes in Drinking Buddies are genuinely compelling: most are simply mildly interesting.

If you like character-driven indie with attractive people and a sprinkling of angst, Drinking Buddies is a fun way to pass 90 minutes. The characters are great: they just fail to do anything that draws the viewer in. If you are looking for heart-wrenching drama or action, this is not the movie for you.

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Mary D

Mary D


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