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Laramie Movie Scope:
Drinking Buddies

Walking a tightrope between romantic comedy and drama

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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November 14, 2013 -- This movie starts out looking like a romantic comedy, or a drama but it turns out to be neither, suspended on a tightrope between those two venerable genres, never quite falling off and landing on either side. The characters are likeable and engaging and the film ends up being amiable, if not quite winning.

The main characters are two couples that are having some problems in their relationships. The first couple is Kate (Olivia Wilde of “Rush”) and Chris (Ron Livingston of “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”). At first, they seem like they are getting along just fine, but trouble is brewing under the surface. The second couple is Luke (Jake Johnson of “Safety Not Guaranteed” and Jill (Anna Kendrick of “Pitch Perfect”). Luke and Jill have been talking for months about getting married, but so far, it is just talk.

During a weekend by the shore with both couples present, Chris and Jill end up together on a hike and picnic. After drinking some wine, Chris kisses Jill, and Jill feels guilty about it, but doesn't say anything about this to Luke. While they are on their hike, Kate and Luke end up together. They don't kiss, but sparks fly. At this point, I'm thinking to myself, “I see where this is going,” but I was wrong. It went in a different direction.

It is almost as if the whole point of this movie is to mess with the expectations of the audience and to foil those expectations. This film sure had me guessing right up until the end. I did not know who was going to end up with whom. I wasn't sure if some jealous lover wasn't going to pull out a gun and start blasting away. It looked like it could end up as a happy romantic comedy, or a tragic ending of jealous rage. All those emotions are present. I could not tell what it was going to do. These conflicting expectations create some tension.

One of the themes of the film is how the range of behavior of the modern American woman, in this case Kate, is something that men have a hard time handling. At one point, she lays down the law to Luke, that she is not going to comply with his expectations of her. She is going to do what she wants to do, when she wants to do it. Luke becomes very angry and Kate is sad, but she is adamant. She wants the freedom to chose her own way, the same freedom men have always had. There is no egg shell, crystal or snowflake that is more fragile than the male ego. Kate's behavior in this film is outlawed in many cultures.

This film did hold my interest throughout and it constantly surprised me. I also liked the ending. The problem was a feeling in my gut which reminded me of the old song “Is That All There Is?” It seemed like more should have happened, somehow. As is, it is good enough to give it a marginal thumbs up. It rates a C+.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2013 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)