Joe Swanberg's new comedy Drinking Buddies, which opened this year'sIndy Film Fest
, is coming back to town this weekend fora theatrical run at the Indiana State Museum IMAX
. It's part of a new series of independent films at the theater, which happens to be managed by Indy Film Fest board director Craig Mince. Up next week is another film from the don't-call-it-mumblecore strain of contemporary filmmaking: Computer Chess, an Andrew Bujalski film that won the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at Sundance and happens to have been production designed byPeople for Urban Progress co-founder Michael Bricker
My capsule review of Drinking Buddies is as follows. Also feel free to consult my Q&A with Swanberg, conducted ahead of Indy Film Fest.
3.5 stars (out of five)
There are limits to realism in film. And we're not just talking phenomenology here (how can something be real if we see it on a screen?) Chicago filmmaker Joe Swanberg's films have sometimes just been a little tough to sit through, with their long conversations about relationships, and long, awkward sex scenes. And for a while, there was new one every few months. Drinking Buddies is Swanberg's first "commercial" effort, and it nicely combines Swanberg's penchant for realism (it's filmed, in part, in Chicago's Revolution Brewery) with some old-school comedy tropes (romantic comedy relationship shuffling with an authentic flavor). It stars Olivia Wilde (Thirteen on House M.D.), Jake Johnson (Nick on New Girl), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Ron Livingston (Office Space) and, in an uncredited role, SNL vet (and Wilde's husband) Jason Sudeikis. It's all improvised, and he's working with a cast that can whip up great lines on the spot: "They have a girl who plays the cello. I think that's ironic, but I can't tell anymore" (Livingston's character on a band he's recording) and "It's like swallowing a burnt condom fill of gas" (Sudeikis on a particularly intense liqueur).