Drinking Buddies


Drinking Buddies (2013)


Critic Consensus: Smart, funny, and powered by fine performances from Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson, Drinking Buddies offers a bittersweet slice of observational comedy.


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Movie Info

Luke and Kate are co-workers at a Chicago brewery, where they spend their days drinking and flirting. They're perfect for each other, except that they're both in relationships. Luke is in the midst of marriage talks with his girlfriend of six years, Kate is playing it cool with her music producer boyfriend Chris. But you know what makes the line between "friends" and "more than friends" really blurry? Beer. (c) Magnolia

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Critic Reviews for Drinking Buddies

All Critics (115) | Top Critics (29)

A lo-fi relationship drama that is interesting, if unevenly presented.

Oct 31, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

The film's quartet of post-slackers are captured as they feel their way around the edges of what they want (and are afraid to ask for) with painful accuracy.

Oct 29, 2013 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Here's a toast to the cast and crew: "Drinking Buddies" is a three-dimensional movie that doesn't require beer goggles.

Sep 25, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

[Swanberg] points the movie in directions that defy our expectations, exploring the characters' immaturity and the entropy of human interaction.

Sep 12, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Not much happens in Drinking Buddies, which, frankly, is refreshing.

Sep 6, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

"Drinking Buddies" sneaks up on you; you think it's going in one direction, and suddenly it goes somewhere much more interesting.

Sep 5, 2013 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Drinking Buddies



Wildaly M
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer


This. Is. Mumblecore. Some critics and audiences feel that this movement is the official death of cinema. My take on Drinking Buddies is that not since Richard Linklater's earliest works has a film been so refreshing and unique. Naturalistic settings, minimal narrative structure, and what seems like improvised dialogue by four incredible actors, Drinking Buddies is the Indie romance I've been wanting to see again since the 90s.

Edward Boxler
Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer


Dressed down, sunglassed up Olivia Wilde sans bra and make-up is crazysexycool as just one of the guys in a microbrewery of dudes. She has great chemistry with gruff 'n grumble Jake Johnson, and they play platonic, opposite sex besties with camaraderie and tension. There are some great silent, intimate moments (Kate quietly and awkwardly getting into bed with Luke; Luke bringing Kate a beer and Kate giving him some fries at the end), but the movie is a little indie-slow with not so much as a "will they/won't they" arc but a "will they do the 'will they/won't they' arc...or won't they"...arc...? It's unclear whether Luke and Kate are into each other or not, so the climax that reveals "what could have been" comes out of nowhere.

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

It's understandable why some people want nothing to do with this addition to the Mumblecore genre, and why others find it delightful, funny, and obscure in many ways. The most interesting aspect of the film's production would have to be the fact that there was no shooting script and that all of the dialogue was completely improvised by the entire cast. It's one of those films that feels organic and real in its characters and the things they discuss. I'm not sure how, generally, there is a script when dealing with scenes that feel this real and improvised. Each of the characters are interesting, the dynamics between the core characters revolve and keep you guessing throughout, and it ends openly. Unlike many romantic indie films there isn't any judgment on the actions of different characters and the outcome isn't a morality lesson. Instead we're viewing the characters as vulnerable individuals. They are completely flawed, lovable messes, and we're never sure about which way the plot is going to go. The relationship between friends Luke (Johnson) and Kate (Wilde) is always in flux, and while you secretly want them to be together, to fall in love as their predecessors have always done before them, there's this seedy underbelly that veers that assumption off course. We want the payoff of a romantic comedy, but we don't want to see Luke's girlfriend Jill (Kendrick) hurt in any way. Then there's misdirection and that relationship becomes questionable. Director and writer Swansberg has said that the ending is up for interpretation, but you can find solid evidence of a conclusion by the end. The film covers two friends struggling against their feelings for one another, and that can't quite be reconciled by the end. Still, the film can be interpreted to be about the shakiness of modern relationships, and how we doubt love, even when we're at our strongest. Either way it's an interesting and funny watch.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

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