Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are co-workers at Chicago craft brewery Revolution Brewing, where they spend their days drinking and goofing off. They are perfect for each other, except that they are both in relationships: Kate is with Chris (Ron Livingston), and Luke is with Jill (Anna Kendrick). Jill presses Luke to see if he is yet ready to talk about marriage, which he promises he will be sometime soon. Luke is busy brewing beer and Kate handles phone calls to set up the anniversary party for the brewery. Later, at the brewery party, Chris invites Luke and Jill to join him and Kate for a trip to his family’s cottage. During the trip Jill and Chris go for a long hike in the woods, where they end up kissing. Luke and Kate spend the whole trip drinking and staying up late alone together, including a bonfire on the beach. After the group returns home, Chris decides he needs to talk to Kate and the two break up. Newly single Kate insists the whole brewery crew go out the next evening for drinks, to celebrate her ‘singleness’, and that night she ends up sleeping with a co-worker, Dave. When Luke hears about this he is angry at both Dave and Kate, and spends the whole day pissed off, snapping at both of them, but eventually apologizes for his behaviour. Jill decides to go away for a week with some friends from college. During this trip, Luke and Kate go out for dinner and fall asleep together on the couch. Luke agrees to help Kate clean out her old apartment and move the next day, and at the end of the day Luke falls asleep on the bed. Kate joins him. During the next morning, Luke invites Kate to dinner to celebrate the move, but then cuts his hand while helping her move the couch. Kate is squeamish about the blood and unhelpful. An impatient driver, blocked by the moving van, yells at them and starts a fight with Luke. After Luke ends up with a fat lip, Kate calls Dave and another co-worker to help finish the move. Dave invites Kate to go out for drinks, and she tells Luke that she wants to go, rather than going to dinner. Luke is annoyed, and an argument ensues.Returning home, Luke finds Jill has returned home early, and she is crying. She confesses to kissing Chris while at the cottage, tells Luke how guilty she feels about what happened, and that she really loves him and wants to marry him. Luke forgives Jill and lets her know that he still loves her and wants to marry her. The next day at work Kate and Luke awkwardly interact and then eventually end up sitting together at lunch. They each offer one another food items before they crack a smile, and drink a beer…

The dialog to “Drinking Buddies” was improvised. Instead of a script, the actors received outlines which covered the major plot points and were told each day what had to happen in that day’s scenes. Relying heavily on improvisation is a key feature of the Mumblecore film movement. He said, “knowing that the structure was already pretty heavily in place, it was about letting the actors own their characters, and have a big say in the clothes that they wore, and in the interactions that they have with each other.” He added: “The improv was used to mainly make the middle of the movie more complicated, and less predictable that a typical romantic comedy would be.” Swanberg also stated “They need to be listening to each other and reacting honestly and I need to be paying really close attention because there’s not a script to fall back on. The goal of doing it that way is to keep everybody engaged and create situations that feel fun and natural”. Filming took place in Chicago, Illinois in July 2012. The film was shot in an actual brewery, called Revolution, where one of the female brewers named Kate was the basis for Wilde’s character. The actors actually drank real beer during the filming and even did real work for the brewing company. Because there was no script and the making of the film was so up in the air, the actors would show up on set often not knowing what they would be filming that day. Ron Livingston arrived in Chicago (where the movie was filmed) one day before he was scheduled to work, but then received a call telling him that filming was ahead of schedule so he would be working that day and that he would be filming “the break up scene”. Livingston knew that his character had a relationship with Olivia Wilde’s character and to a certain extent with Anna Kendrick’s too, so when he arrived on set, he had to ask the director which one of the two he was breaking up with and why. “Drinking Buddies” is a a bittersweet and funny comedy about relations, both friend relations and love relations, and this movie is powered by great performances from all involved but predominantly from Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson. Their acting is so relaxed and on the spot, so you feel your watching more of a documentary. The story is just based on everyday dialogues and everyday happenings and yet Swanberg and his actors manages to really engage you in the “non” action within the daily interactions on the screen. The tension and chemistry between Wilde and Johnson and their characters goes through the screen and that is such strong pillar in the movie. It just feels real and honest, maybe due to the fact that the director let the actors improvise throughout the movie. “Drinking Buddies” is a solid example on truly great acting and that a movie can just be about daily interactions and yet be intriguing and interesting. (3 and a half out of 5)

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