Movies That Rule: Drinking Buddies – By Cameron Heffernan

Examining the finer points of drinking, and the struggles of relationships.


Unfortunately, human nature makes us unfaithful people.

We like to consider ourselves faithful. That when we devote ourselves to someone, we truly do devote ourselves, mind, body and soul. Unfortunately, we’ve all had friends of the opposite sex, that sometimes, interfere with our monogamous endeavors. We’ve all had that friend of a friend, or someone we work with, that we grow entirely too close with, our significant other raises questions; arguments are had, people say stupid things. Then somehow you find yourself in the arms of that other person who started this mess in the first place.

This, in a nutshell, is what Drinking Buddies is about. Director, Joe Swanberg (Marriage Material and one of the better shorts in V/H/S – The Terrible Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger.) takes you through two couples lives, and their attempts to combat adultery, and the feelings we develop for friends we grow a little too close with.

Follow me on this one:

So there’s Kate (Olivia Wilde), Luke (Jake Johnson), Jill (Anna Kendrick), and Chris (Ron Livingston). Kate is with Chris and Luke is with Jill, Luke and Kate work at a brewery together, and are the best of friends. They all decide to go on a camping trip together, as couples, and one thing leads to another, betrayal happens, and things begin to unravel for each one of them as they come to terms with the mundane repetitiveness of domesticated life.

What puts Buddies a cut above the rest, is it’s reality. You almost feel intrusive as you watch these people slowly unravel from their impulses.

Wilde and Johnson are on top of their game. Wilde is actually entrusted with the leading role of this film, which after small showings in Tron: Legacy and The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, it’s hard to believe that someone would want to have her quarterback a very character driven film.

Johnson on the other hand, coming off of new found New Girl fame is like a pack of Iditarod dogs piling through the snow, making sure what could be boring drub feels like one of the more enjoyable and intrusive awkward experiences put to film.

At times it’s haunting, or really a sense of deja vu, as you watch Wilde and Johnson writhe through their experiences. Restricting their true feelings for friendship – you feel for Johnson or Wilde, because we’ve all had to suffer through something like that. We’ve all been deeply in love with someone, and we wish to stay faithful to them, but there is always a sinking feeling that someone else out there, most likely someone you’re close with, is also your special someone. That maybe we aren’t only compatible with just one.

Whether it’s your own feelings going whichever way they please, or that other person putting themselves too close to you. We’ve all had to deal with that sort of heartbreak. It’s not like usual scenarios, with adultery, where the parties don’t know each other. These are the things that make this scenario impossible to navigate. On one end, you have a friendship to preserve, and on the other, the heart wants what the heart wants.

Then there’s the balancing act of whether or not someone’s put you in the friendzone or they’re fighting the same feelings you are. Then, when you fall off that wire, and you open yourself up, you’re faced with denial or acceptance. Yet, you’re still left with other person. And that’s what’s most disturbing in these situations, do or don’t.

Do you destroy everything you’ve built with someone? Just for your carnal desires or, do you preserve ? fight through your thoughts of deceit and continue to wallow in friendship.

It’s a sad question, but one that’s very much apart of human nature. Although, sometimes you are able to get over that moment, move on and settle in to the domestic life. Always remembering, that in the end, you’ll always have a drinking buddy.

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