I’ve become very familiar with Joe Swanberg's work because it’s right up my alley and a lot of it is on Netflix. My favorite thing he has done is actually the TV show, Easy, but his films are also enjoyable. Swanberg likes to dig a little deeper than most writers when it comes to relationships and our everyday decision making. Drinking Buddies is set in Joe’s favorite setting of downtown Chicago. He graduated from high school and went to college near Chi town, so he knows the landscape pretty well. He sort of makes the city its own character.
Olivia Wilde plays the PR of a brewery named Kate and Jake Johnson plays her co worker, Luke. They have lunch together, get beers after work, and clearly have a strong bond. We are introduced to their significant others in this really organic way that seems to be Swanberg’s trademark. Anna Kendrick plays Jill, Luke’s girlfriend of six years and Ron Livingston plays Chris, Kate’s new boyfriend. After meeting for the first time, Chris has the idea of going to the lake for a weekend. All four of them go to his lake house and they all get to know each other a little more.
Drinking Buddies is a solid rom-com with some really intense scenarios that are acted out well. Jake Johnson fits in so well with Swanberg’s writing style and he delivers a very memorable performance in this one. Drinking Buddies isn’t striving for anything more than an entertaining look at some contemporaries in Chicago. It knows what it is and I respect that.