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
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.