Synopsis: Twelve years after a one-night stand, a man (Jason Sudeikis) and a woman (Alison Brie) run into each other and try to maintain a platonic relationship despite their mutual attraction.
Release Date: September 11, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Romance
While it’s easy to classify Sleeping With Other People as a romantic comedy, the film is so much more than that. Anchored by two stellar performances by Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses 2) and Alison Brie (Get Hard), Sleeping With Other People is the romantic comedy that proves that age-old formulas aren’t the only thing going for the genre. The leading characters can be dynamic, their relationships can feel real, and the dialogue can be smart, and almost nothing is lost in the end product. At the end we still root for the boy and girl to get together, only for different reasons and by way of a different journey.
In Sleeping With Other People there is no meet-cute or serendipitous collision between Lainey (Brie) and Jake (Sudeikis). Neither feels much draw towards one another on a romantic level at first, but their troubled romantic lives do share some similarities. Jake is incapable of holding onto the same feelings for too long, and inevitably self-sabotages to course correct, while Lainey can’t help being obsessed with the same guy for eight years, even as the obsession ruins all of her other relationships. For all intents and purposes, they are two people with similar problems, only they manifest in different forms. They’re perfect for each other, but in a kind of messed up way.
And for a lot of the movie, Jake and Lainey’s relationship never feels like it has that romantic lead-up. Rather, Sleeping With Other People is very much the story of a budding friendship that slowly becomes romantic, and the film portrays that transition so well. The script by Leslye Headland is whip smart and runs a mile a minute, and Sudeikis and Brie simply have tremendous chemistry. Headland so clearly defines these characters that the two leads’ performances feel effortless, even though there’s clearly a ton of work being done on their end.
Given the strong writing it’s no surprise then that the comedic half of the equation is equally as solid. Again, Headland’s script keeps a brisk pace and is filled with lots of whit and clever anecdotes. It’s funny in its observations about relationships, but has a few physical comedy bits as well. And credit where credit’s due, Brie and Sudeikis nail that aspect of the film even better than the romance. You’ll laugh plenty throughout the film, both along with, and at, the characters.
Sleeping With Other People typifies the indie romance at its most virile. Its tone, approach, and themes all represent modern relationships, and the dialogue and performances keep within the world director Leslye Headland has created. This is a case where maximum effort was necessary to pull the story off effectively, but none of that could come across on-screen. Luckily, Headland has two stellar leads in Brie and Sudeikis, who more than carry their weight. The only real criticism to be raised at Sleeping With Other People is that it does struggle to wrap things up within the time given, and much of the final third feels rushed, arguably even tacked on. Aside from that, though, Sleeping With Other People is proof that romantic comedies don’t have to be boring, by-the-numbers cliches. They can have real people in real relationships and be excellent.
Obviously, a lot of the comedy in Sleeping With Other People is going to feel more authentic for those with experience. That is, the more a person is familiar with different relationship dynamics and the like then the more likely they are to laugh. It’s also a film for a mature audience, so any who find themselves looking for something a little more cutesy in its humor should probably turn elsewhere. That being said, Sleeping With Other People is a consistently funny movie, all while avoiding the obvious jokes.
However, much of the humor would have been lost if it were not for the cast. Sudeikis and Brie really anchor both sides of the romantic comedy, but their supporting actors put in serious work as well. Jason Mantzoukas is a real standout as Jake’s business partner Xander, bringing an almost mentally unbalanced, but brutally earnest married man to life. He and Andrea Savage, who plays his character’s wife, feel like the married couple that really exists in a romantic comedy. They aren’t bitter or the voice of reason; they lust for the opportunity to be in that stage of life again. Honestly, if a follow-up were made about their characters, it would be an easy sell.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Leslye Headland
- Screenwriter(s): Leslye Headland
- Cast: Alison Brie (Lainey)Jason Sudeikis (Jake)Adam Brody (Sam) Jason Mantzoukas (Xander)Margaret Odette (Thea)Amanda Peet (Paula)Adam Scott (Matthew)Natasha Lyonne (Kara)Andrea Savage (Naomi)
- Editor(s): Paul Frank
- Cinematographer: Ben Kutchins
- Production Designer(s):
- Costume Designer:
- Casting Director(s):
- Music Score: Andrew Feltenstein
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA