Sleeping with Other People full movie review - Genuinely Funny Romantic Comedy That Has A Hard Time Balancing Tougher Emotional Issues
There are a lot of limited release movies I just don't get around to seeing. I decided to pick this movie up though because of who was in it.
Jason and Alison are always funny respectively and the trailer looked like it could be interesting. While it might not have been the next classic, I got a lot out of this movie and I think if you're interested in a harder and more vulgar romantic comedy, this might by up your alley.
The movie starts out in 2002 with a distraught Lainey (Alison Brie) banging on a door in a college dorm. She was supposed to meet a guy who lived there but she has been stood up. Between her yelling and her pounding on the door she creates enough of a scene that she's going to be escorted out. But then Jake (Jason Sudeikis) who's another guy who lives on that floor makes an excuse that they're friends and she comes to his room instead. She tells him the story of why she's there, she was going to sleep with Matt (Adam Scott) and lose her virginity. Jake has a laugh about it until Lainey figures out that Jake is a virgin too. They drink together and they hook up later that night.
In present day, we see Jake trying to talk his way out of trouble, having cheated on his girlfriend and when it looks like he might just do it, he gets hit by a car. Lainey is having her own romantic difficulties as we see her break up with her boyfriend, having cheated on him with Matt from college who she has maintained a friends with benefits relationship with her the whole time. Both are sexual addicts in different ways (Jake in the more conventional way, Lainey is more an addict exclusively with Matt) and they meet up all those years later by chance at a love addicts meeting. They have an awkward catching up chat but they decide to hang out and find that they have a lot in common. They decide to use each other to create a normal social relationship that isn't built around sex while they work on their respective problems.
I think the most important part of selling a romantic comedy to both male and female viewers is that it has to be funny. Female viewers can enjoy the romantic fantasy but both genders can appreciate a film when they're laughing along the way. This movie is downright hilarious at points. The comedic dialogue is pretty top notch and the actors deliver it excellently. It takes some cues from Judd Apatow's movies in that it leans on the raunchier side but I think that works to the movie's credit. There were more than a few instances where I was laughing hard and it's easy to like a movie that can make you laugh even if it's not your favourite type of movie.
It's also kind of cool when you get to see people who are normally supporting characters get their chance to carry a film by themselves. Jason Sudeikis isn't a stranger to being a leading man but it's not something he's done often. He's always been funny though and in Sleeping With Other People, he continues that here. He's pretty charming and he once again shows he can be that leading guy. Alison Brie has been a favourite actress of mine since I saw her in Community. She's part of a small group of actresses who can do comedy but also act well dramatically. This movie gives her a chance to show her range and she excels at both. It was nice to see Amanda Peet in the small amount of screen time she gets. I also enjoyed the actors who played their friends, they bounced off the leads very well.
On the opposite side, while this movie is really funny and boasts an actor and an actress that are good both individually and together, the best parts of Sleeping With Other People are during the middle of the film where Lainey and Jake are riffing off each other, talking through their crazy situations together and making jokes about each others love lives. The beginning of the film comes off as kind of awkward. Both actors are clearly pretending to be much younger than they are and for that reason them meeting up as college students is less believable.
I found the ending of the film to be a big disappointment. As I talked about above, this film does something different in that Lainey is involved in an emotionally abusive relationship. This is a good thing for the movie, it's approaching different territory. But at the end, while I admit the film was building towards a dramatic conclusion, it falls into typical tropes where the characters can't be together because of some coincidental stuff and the sudden realization after an emotional moment where they realized they loved each other all along. Also, instead of keeping it a nice mix of drama and comedy, as the rest of the movie did, the ending is very serious by comparison. It might be enjoyable for some but since the rest of it is a R rated raunchy rom-com, I wished it could have some levity.
I'm surprised this movie didn't get a bigger release. Sure it's a dirtier and sexier film than most romantic comedies but I think it would have appealed to a good amount of people. This movie is funny and it explores deeper into stuff like sexual addiction and the downside of the just sleeping around than most do. As good as it is though, it is heavy handed and it's conclusion is too melodramatic compared to the rest of film. I would still recommend it as a more indie style Judd Apatow type of romantic comedy, it achieves everything it sets out to do.