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Joe Swanberg is a polarizing figure in independent film. Since his first feature in 2005 (Kissing on the Mouth), he's proved quickly prolific, directing eighteen full-length features in just eight years. Let me say that again: eighteen films in eight years!
Within that intense output are such critically praised pictures as Silver Bullets, Alexander The Last and Nights and Weekends. But to some critics, Swanberg's typical mumblecore approach is too rushed and slapdash or—in the opinion of outspoken critic Devin Faraci, who literally fought with Swanberg at last year's Fantastic Fest—"the laziest form of filmmaking." But even Swanberg's harshest critics might be wooed by his latest Drinking Buddies, as its trailer suggests it may be his most commercially appealing effort yet.
Written and directed by Swanberg, Drinking Buddies boasts a remarkable foursome as its leads: Anna Kendrick, Jake Johnson, Olivia Wilde, and Ron Livingston. We first got word of this quirky comedy last summer, when Kendrick signed on, but back then the pic's plot was being kept under wraps. Since then, Magnolia Pictures has committed to its release, and their first trailer gives us a look into what Drinking Buddies is all about.
Wilde and Johnson star as Kate and Luke, best buds who work together at a craft brewery and often crack each other up. As you can see in the trailer above, they seem on the verge of breaking out of the friend zone—until we meet their dreamy significant others/romantic obstacles. Livingston plays Kate's clean cut beau, Chris; Kendrick plays Luke's lovely lady friend Jill, who is getting restless and looking for Luke to take the next step in their relationship. You know, the one that involves a costly bit of finger bling? But all of these relationships are spun into risk after a fateful weekend where Kate and Luke are left alone, sans significant others.
Its love triangle premise might be a bit predictable, but the trailer clearly displays the feature's finest attributes are Wilde, Johnson, and the chemistry they share. For too long, Wilde has been cast almost solely for her unearthly good looks in roles that give her little opportunity to show off her comedy chops (Cowboys & Aliens, Tron: Legacy, In Time). But her small roles in under appreciated comedies like The Change-Up and Butter have shown she's got a great sense of comic timing and a sharp-witted charm. Finally, this trailer shows what silly skills Wilde's been kept from showing us in full. Add to that Johnson and his bizarrely gruff but sexy appeal and you've got an onscreen chemistry I can't wait to see ignite…if you know what I'm saying.
Drinking Buddies will be available on iTunes/On Demand on July 25th. A limited theatrical release will follow on August 23rd.