I am at my second Sundance Film Festival. These are my reviews.
Sleeping With Other People
DIRECTOR/SCREENWRITER: Leslye Headland
PRINCIPAL CAST: Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet, Jason Mantzoukas, Natasha Lyonne
U.S.A., 2015, 92 min., color
Plot (courtesy of Sundance): Jake and Lainey impulsively lose their virginity to each other in college. When their paths cross 12 years later in New York, they realize they both have become serial cheaters. Bonding over their chronic infidelity, they form a platonic friendship to support each other in their quests for healthy romantic relationships.
Review: Right from the beginning, we know Lainey (Brie) is a train wreck. She tries to get a dorm door down, and Jake (Sudeikis) is somehow charmed by this mess. Mainly because we learn he’s a little messed up too. That was college, but now we’re in present day, and the two run into each other at a sex addict group. The director says the film is “When Harry Met Sally for assholes” and it will be tough for anyone to top that description. Both characters are in denial of who they are and what they want, but thankfully they are willing to try. Try anything in fact, like the age old (for our age group anyway) concept of a man and a woman just being friends, even though there is sexual chemistry. I can never hear the word “mousetrap” or see a green tea bottle in the same way. Those are just a few moments that will stick with you well after this very messy, very adult romantic comedy is over.
Not enough people have seen Bachelorette and I truly hope that doesn’t happen here. Sudeikis is a charming dick (that is a huge compliment) in almost everything he does and he’s at his best, with his best script here. Brie has a heavier load to bear in this film and she occasionally does it with grace, humor and a lot of mess. She’s damaged goods. In fact, I could see some people thinking she’s too flawed to embrace. It’s a brilliant performance. Look for the shaky hands when she’s worked up. And there are too many moments to count when you’re convinced anyone would be insane not to want her.
There are some happy twists and turns where you see these characters grow and more specially attempt to grow. There are many people who hurt and who are hurt in this film, which includes very good performances from Scott and Peet. Mantzoukas is a scene stealer and it’s definitely my favorite thing he’s ever done (including an amazing end credits scene, and a great rant about his friendless children).
To top if off, this film actually taught me something about myself. When talking about having sex for the first time, Jake says, “He wanted it to be special and it wasn’t. So it sucked for a while.” I could make that a little prettier, but I never fully realized that’s actually how I felt. It’s always a genuine surprise when a movie can teach you about you. Sleeping With Other People is something that shouldn’t be missed … if you can handle raunch.