How to remark about a movie that is
They tried to make this one of those
indie movies that feels so informal, with all the hand-held camera shots, and
the casual conversation, and the improvised dialogue.
Nothing fancy here. No CGI
monsters, no chase scenes, no violence, no comic book characters, no
animation, no lavish sets, no cast of thousands, no stunning costumes, no lush
landscape….in fact, pretty much nothing except four main characters, and a
small circle of close friends, most of whom work at the same microbrewery.
Kate (Olivia Wilde) is one of those
firmly independent singles who nonetheless has a regular friend with benefits,
Chris (Ron Livingston), who’s quiet and introspective alongside her
extroverted party girl persona. Her
best friend is Luke (Jake Johnson), who’s obviously attuned to Kate, and
vice versa, but Luke has a steady girl in Jill (Anna Kendrick), a live-in who
sometimes wants the marriage conversation to go somewhere besides
The four of them go for a weekend to
Chris’ family’s lake cabin in the woods, and there they play drunken
blackjack, and then drink some more. Luke
and Kate find themselves by themselves at night beside a campfire on the
shore, and Kate even goes skinny-dipping, either like it’s no big deal among
friends, or purposefully pushing the envelope on cross-flirting.
The next morning, both of them are sleeping in late, so Jill and Chris
go on a hike, and during the picnic lunch try a little experimental kiss.
Are we all about swapping partners here?
No, not really. But the
emotional cross-currents, predictably, confuse the issue about the nature of
Meanwhile, the drinking continues:
first at the brewery itself, then by everybody celebrating at night at
the local pool hall/tavern, and overall there’s an incredible amount of
alcohol consumed here, with nobody even raising the specter of addiction, or
alcoholism. Just friends having fun
with friends, with apparently no ill effects. Just
a decided drifting to these young lives that don’t seem interested in family
as anything other than abstraction, and certainly aren’t doing anything for
In a way, nothing really happens in this
movie. In another way, all the
characters undergo some attitude shifts with regard to each other, but it
takes a while for any realization to dawn on anybody, and then, when it does,
well, it gets underplayed along with most everything else.
Don’t expect excitement.
Don’t expect profound. Don’t
expect awesome plot turns or strong performances or edgy humor or even much
ribald action. They just kind of
sleepwalk through this one like they’re all half-snockered, which they may
very well be. If this is the slacker
generation, I’ll leave them to their practiced ennui and seek something a
little more remarkable.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St.
Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,