Sleeping with Other People (2015)

sleepingwithotherpeople_2015_poster
Sleeping with Other People (2015)
  • Time: 92 min
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Director: Leslye Headland
  • Cast: Alison Brie, Jason Sudeikis, Natasha Lyonne

Storyline:

Can two serial cheaters get a second chance at love? After a one-night stand in college, New Yorkers Lainey (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudeikis) meet by chance twelve years later and discover they each have the same problem: because of their monogamy-challenged ways, neither can maintain a relationship. Determined to stay friends despite their mutual attraction, they make a pact to keep it platonic, a deal that proves easier said than done. Fresh, funny, and full of witty insights about modern love, this hilariously heartfelt film “is the rare rom-com that reminds us why we love them so much in the first place”.

2 comments

  • “Are we in love with each other?” Lainey (Alison Brie) asks Jake (Jason Sudeikis). The answer, of course, is yes but before they can have their proverbial happy ending, they must go through the motions of being kept apart in the occasionally engaging but mostly haphazard romantic comedy, Sleeping with Other People.

    Lainey and Jake’s initial brief encounter takes place in a college dormitory where drunk in love Lainey is in the midst of breaking down the door of Matthew Sobvechik, the TA she wants to take her virginity. Jake, stars in his eyes at the sight of her, comes to the rescue of this unhinged hottie, stoking her interest with humorous patter and telling her that losing her virginity to the unworthy Sobvechik would be the greatest joke of all time. She’s amazing, Sobvechik is “the Pontiac Aztec of people.” Lainey realises Jake himself is still a virgin and the two end the night by sleeping with each other on the dorm’s rooftop.

    Cut to twelve years later. Jake is a serial womaniser who still tries to talk himself into or out of situations such as getting back in the good graces of his girlfriend after she discovers Jake has been cheating on her with her best friend. Lainey, meanwhile, is in the midst of reforming herself by confessing to her boyfriend (Adam Brody) that she has cheated on him 16 times…with the same guy. It’s part and parcel of her sex addiction and her romantic obsession, she explains. “You’re not an addict, you’re a whore,” her boyfriend cries before stomping out of the restaurant.

    It turns out that Lainey is still pining after Sobvechik (Adam Scott, sporting a sleazy moustache), who is now an OB-GYN with a heavily pregnant wife (Katherine Waterston) but who has no compunction about dallying with Lainey on the side. The scenes between Lainey and Sobvechik are so psychologically darker than the rest of the film that it throws everything else off balance. It’s difficult to fully focus on Lainey and Jake’s romance when the toxic dynamic between Lainey and Sobvechik is arguably more intriguing. Writer-director Leslye Headland has stated that the character of Lainey was partly what Fatal Attraction would have been if told from the perspective of Glenn Close’s spurned character. One certainly feels sympathy for Lainey as she attempts to discover her self-worth by extricating herself from under Sobvechik’s spell. However, the exploration of her emotional damage within the framework of this genre never feels of a piece with the overall film. Headland doesn’t play it safe, but she doesn’t play it smart either.

    It’s a credit to Brie that there’s even a semblance of cohesion in Lainey’s trajectory. She’s a terrific physical comedienne as evidenced by her ecstasy-spiked dance to David Bowie’s “Modern Love,” and has a tart delivery that offsets her angelic countenance. She and Sudeikis share a sexy and funny chemistry, and it’s all too evident that their characters’ pledge to keep things platonic will soon be broken.

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  • Sometimes you can make a movie title into a funny sentence – if you word it just right. For example, I could tell you that… I spent good money to check out Lily Tomlin’s “Grandma” (her September 2015 movie), and I was very disappointed with what I saw. The previous spring, I decided to go to “Get Hard” (the Will Farrell – Kevin Hart comedy). A couple months before that, I watched “The Boy Next Door” for about an hour and a half… and I’d do it again. But I’m fickle. Even after looking online and finding “The Perfect Guy”, I still found myself looking forward to “Sleeping with Other People”. Unfortunately, my significant other was not amused when I texted that that was what I was doing when I didn’t come home on time one evening. Equally unfortunate is that this paragraph is about as funny and clever as the movie “Sleeping with Other People” (R, 1:41) is able to manage in nearly two hours of screen time.

    Lainey (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudeikis) met in college and ended up losing their virginity to each other. About a dozen years later, they run into each other after attending a meeting for sex addicts. They each had people in their lives who suggested the group as a way of dealing with their respective obsession with sex and proclivity to cheat. After catching up and discussing their lives over dinner, they both hint that they’re still attracted to each other, so they agree to just be friends – with a safe word for times when one says or does something that the other thinks could result in things getting sexual between them. This way, they can enjoy each other’s company while still… sleeping with other people.

    This arrangement works pretty well… for a while. Lainey and Jake treat each other as best friends, but carry on with their own romantic relationships, and even discuss details with each other. Lainey is trying to get past a long-term obsession with her college boyfriend – turned gynecologist (Adam Scott) who is about to get married – to someone other than her. Jake is pursuing his new boss (Amanda Peet), but his friend and co-worker (Jason Mantzoukas) and his wife (Andrea Savage) are convinced that Jake wants to sleep with Lainey. Lainey’s friend, Kara (Natasha Lyonne), is concerned that she’s spending too much time with (or obsessing over) unavailable men. Soon, even Lainey and Jake have to admit to each other that they’re acting like a couple and they need to figure out what to do about that mutual realization.

    You’ve likely seen this story before. It has elements of the very similar 2011 romantic comedies “No Strings Attached” and “Friends with Benefits”, with a touch of 2013’s “Thanks for Sharing” and “Don Jon” (also very similar), but this film’s biggest influence seems to be 1989’s “When Harry Met Sally…” Unfortunately, unlike that rom-com classic, “Sleeping with Other People” lacks likable characters whose actions make sense. Instead, with this movie we get crude sexual discussions between two people who are each such a mess that we don’t really care if they get together in the end or not.

    “Sleeping with Other People” was written by one person (Leslye Headland, who also directs), but feels like it’s written by about five different people – who never conferred with each other. The script shoots off in several different directions, seemingly randomly. Jason Sudeikis is usually pretty funny and Alison Brie is pretty… pretty, but they don’t make a very cute couple. These two actors do have some chemistry between them, but it seems to be theirs alone. Even as these characters bounce between their various emotional extremes, they somehow seem to be in sync with each other. That means there are at least two people who know what’s going on in this movie. The romance in the story only shines through in brief moments and the humor, even less. I enjoyed catching the frequent movie references tossed around by Sudeikis’ character, but I stopped caring about the plot when it became clear that I was basically watching the 2015 versions of Harry and Sally, but not enjoying them nearly as much. “C-“

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