Joe Swanberg discovers tripods in ‘Drinking Buddies’

Actors Joe Swanberg, Ron Livingston, Jake Johnson and Olivia Wilde star in "Drinking Buddies."  Credit: WireImage
Actors Joe Swanberg, Ron Livingston, Jake Johnson and Olivia Wilde star in “Drinking Buddies.”
Credit: WireImage
‘Drinking Buddies’
Director: Joe Swanberg
Stars: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson
Rating: R
3 (out of 5) Globes

Most of the progenitors of the not quite movement tagged in the press as “mumblecore” have moved on. Earlier this summer, Andrew Bujalski — one of its pioneers — went deep into the abstract and weird with “Computer Chess.” Joe Swanberg, another of its members, goes the other way with “Drinking Buddies.” A prolific chronicler of relationships, Swanberg has favored superficially Godardian experimentation with self-consciously sloppy handiwork. Films like “Hannah Takes the Stairs” and “Nights and Weekends” don’t employ tripods, the frames are inelegant and the acting leans towards the kind produced during early rehearsals — all on purpose.

In addition to an attractive name cast, “Drinking Buddies” boasts a tripod, no experimentation and acting that’s loose only to the pampered likes of Olivia Wilde, its star. Wilde plays Kate, an employee at a craft beer brewery clearly in love with her fun-loving/-drinking coworker bestie, Luke (Jake Johnson). Luke is clearly in love back, but is newly engaged to Jill (Anna Kendrick). Kate buries her frustrations in another relationship, with the more mature Chris (Ron Livingston).

Most mumblecores detailed the lives of youngish adults stunted emotionally, vocationally and financially. “Drinking Buddies” carries the flame. There’s zero chance that either Kate or Luke will put voice to their feelings, and a 100-per-cent chance they will only act on them in ways that harms either themselves or others. The film, like “Funny Ha Ha” or “Humpday,” is stuck in a holding pattern, because that’s closer to what would happen to these people at this point in human history. They’re comfortably self-destructive, willing to toil in modestly paying jobs, even ones as empowering as beer brewing, while toiling in emotionally unfulfilling relationships for fear of courting potential real failure.

This world, though. has been detailed to near-death. However often perceptive and pleasant “Drinking Buddies” is — and it is, with the familiar cast uniformly excellent — it can’t help feel like a bid for mainstream acceptance that’s four or six years too late. Among the supporting cast made of indie filmmakers is Frank V. Ross, whose flms, including “Audrey the Trainwreck” and the new “Tiger Tail in Blue,” do something legitimately new and exciting within the vague “mumblecore” boundaries. A horror film like the new “You’re Next,” with Swanberg in the cast, is at this point honestly more forward-thinking than a Swanberg film with decent cinematography.

 

 

News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

PHOTOS: More than $12 million in heroin, crystal…

Authorities seized more than 44 pounds of heroin and 17 pounds of crystal meth from two stash houses this week during a Manhattan drug bust.

Local

How to donate during the blood drive at…

The Metro-North Railroad and New York Blood Center are hosting a blood drive at Grand Central Terminal Thursday.

Local

Bloomberg launches $50 million anti-gun violence effort

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg plans to spend $50 million on a grassroots anti-gun violence network to challenge the National Rifle Association.

Local

East Village woman fights off rape attempt from…

An East Village woman fought off an attempted rapist that she woke to find standing on her bed over the weekend, police said.

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

Books

Becoming friends with New York City's oldest known…

"The Life and Times of Richard Musto" tells the story, through a poem, of the oldest known homeless man in New York City.

Movies

Interview: Johnny Depp says he looks like himself,…

Johnny Depp talks about his new sci-fi thriller "Transcendence," not wearing gaudy makeup and wigs for a change and how he's a bit of a Luddite.

Movies

Review: 'Heaven is for Real' tries to be…

The mega-bestseller "Heaven is for Real" becomes a movie that tries to portray wrestling with faith — or at least it tries to try.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

NFL

Jets make Chris Johnson signing official

The Jets got their big-play threat as running back Chris Johnson signed a multi-year contract with the team on Wednesday.

NHL

Top 5 Philadelphia storylines for Flyers-Rangers

The slate is clean for the Flyers and the Rangers. Which is good news for the Flyers.

NHL

Islanders back to rebuilding mode after disappointing season

One season after qualifying for the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2006-07, the Islanders finished 2013-14 with a 34-37-11 record.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.

Wellbeing

Cognitive skills begin to drop at age 24

But the news isn't all that bad.

Career

How to get a job at a startup:…

We talked to Tarek Pertew, one of the co-founders behind Uncubed, about how to get your dream job at a startup.

Parenting

The 'smartest' summer camps across the country

See a list of summer camps across the country that emphasis learning, while still being fun.