Editor’s Notes: Sleeping With Other People opened in limited release September 25th.
Jason Sudeikis is left handed.
Sometimes Slow-motion works in romantic comedies.
This was almost a great movie.
Sleeping with other People is Leslye Headland’s (About Last Night) 95 minute long limited-release (for the time being) romantic comedy that was 88 minutes of fantastic film. 88 minutes of hilarious back and forth between the extremely charismatic co-leads of that work best when Jason Sudeikis is reigned in and Allison Brie is unleashed.
88 minutes of hilarious back and forth between the extremely charismatic co-leads . . .
It’s nearly impossible to review this movie without spoiling the ending, so, other than saying that roughly the last seven minutes of the film undid everything that was right about the movie it will have to be avoided –rather, I was really…really hoping that the last few scenes would not happen.
The film begins much like other genre flicks with a college-aged Jake (Sudeikis) and Lainey (Brie) meeting in an awkward encounter than quickly flashing forward a decade to show what people they have become. Jake, a womanizer with commitment issues, and Lainey – who’s in a relationship
Headland ponders the question repeatedly throughout the film: is it possible for a man and a woman to have a close, loving and entirely platonic relationship? The film –as well as Sudeikis and Brie – do a tactful job of weaving the answer in whether it be through scenes with each other or through dialogue from either’s friend groups.
The sexual tension, the awkward-misplaced jealousy, the protective nature – everything comments on our perception of what a relationship should be . . .
Several times, a side character will give the obligatory “why aren’t you two together” talk in some form or another which, since I am giving the film the benefit of the doubt, I believe is done in irony and truly does work to comment on this ever-present theme. This is one thing that the movie does very well – give a clichéd rom-com scene or incident and follow that up with one of the characters commenting on that very cliché.
For example, in the opening scene Jason Sudeikis is (of course) chasing down a woman who ran off from his apartment after she realized he slept with her sister. The formulaic rom-com chase scene in New York is never complete without the man almost running into a cab, which is exactly what happens. Though, immediately after that happens Jason Sudeikis’ character brings himself out of the severity of the chase and semi-looks off towards the camera and comments on how clichéd that was to have happened.
Small touches like that throughout the movie are very appreciated, as well as the turns Headland makes at points in normal romantic comedies where you absolutely expect something to happen and here – in Sleeping With Other People – the exact opposite happens. Every major landmark in Jake and Lainey’s relationship gives another clue as to what Headland’s answer to that major question the film poses.
The sexual tension, the awkward-misplaced jealousy, the protective nature – everything comments on our perception of what a relationship should be and what exactly is the difference between a man and a woman who are in a loving, platonic relationship and a man and a woman in a romantic one.
The film’s best scene navigates this premise dexterously when Jake and Lainey are lying in bed together after they converged after two separate failed dates and you fully expect the hardcore “I’ve waited for this my whole life” hookup scene yet something different happens – something that you have to hear come out of Allison Brie and Jason Sudeikis’ mouths to fully appreciate.
Everything about the film gets this perfectly, everything…until the ending.
There is a perfect end point in the film that (without giving away any spoilers) comes in the back of a police car with Sudeikis coming to a rather emotional realization – an ending that I was ready to stand up and cheer for.
Then – and maybe I am giving Headland too much benefit here, but I believe she deserves it as the film was wonderfully written (until the end) – something happens that I can only imagine was forced in by untrusting overlords that didn’t think we could handle a film with a non-archetypical ending. An ending that would have been on par with 500 Days of Summer.
Even so, Jason Sudeikis and Allison Brie both give career performances here and Brie proves she needs a stronger vehicle to showcase her talent. Though, I deny the answer that the film leaves us with, I would be ranking this among the greats of the genre if it had just shown some restraint at the end.
Also, Adam Scott was great.
Jason Sudeikis and Allison Brie both give career performances here and Brie proves she needs a stronger vehicle to showcase her talent. Everything about the film gets this perfectly, everything…until the ending.