Stars: Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Jordan Carlos, Margarita Levieva, Charles Cain, Adam Brody, Michael Cyril Creighton, Billy Eichner, Jason Mantzoukas, Margaret Odette, Amanda Peet, Victoria Frings, Adam Scott, Natasha Lyonne | Written and Directed by Leslye Headland
When it comes to romantic comedies these days you tend to either get the big Hollywood films with big names and often a lack of real connection, or you get the indie ones with lots of talking. Sleeping with Other People finds its place between these styles, with surprising success.
Jake (Jason Sudeikis) is a good-natured man who is a womaniser, and Lainey (Alison Brie) is obsessed with her first love (or at least the one she planned to lose her virginity to). When the two form a platonic relationship to help them deal with their disastrous love lives the signs are all there that an attraction between the two are forming.
When I started watching Sleeping with Other People, it was obvious by the amount of talking everybody on the screen were doing that this would be one of those cynical movies about love, but that the two main actors would fall for each other. Thankfully though as the film goes on this prediction becomes less of an inevitability.
What the film actually becomes is a charming look at two people who are deeply flawed, but are made for each other. It may take them some time to realise you, it is obvious that they will get together. Though the film won’t actually let them and does the best to make sure this doesn’t happen.
The fact is really, the title gives away the main premise, and that is that the two people refuse to be together and tend to date and sleep with other people. Brie’s character is the most worrying of the two as her obsession with former love Matthew (Adam Scott) is at a stalkerish level. Obviously his character is a controlling creep who tends to get off on this control he has over the women in his lives.
Sleeping with Other People works because you fall for the characters, and you care about them. You want them to be together, and of course this is the key to any romantic comedy. What makes it a bit more special though is the way that it manipulates the audience into thinking that things are going one way, before throwing in a surprise to push things in a completely different direction. It is one of those “love will find a way” type films that are always popular because they work. Especially for hopeless romantics.
With Sleeping with Other People being one of those “talky” movies I mentioned earlier, you have to have actors that can handle that. What I like about Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie is the fact that they are good at talking, and we know that from past movies. In fact, there are scenes in the film where they verbally throw words out at each other, just babbling and you wonder how they keep it together. It is their performances, and their chemistry that make the film work.
While there are moments with the film where it tends to drag on, and needs a kick up the butt to get moving again, Sleeping with Other People is good for what it is. There is a cynical edge to the comedy and its examination of relationships, but that is what makes it work. You’ll obviously be enticed to see this for Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis, but you’ll end up staying for the story, and how it finally ends (and its worth it).
Sleeping with Other People is available in the UK on DVD now.