Taglines: a romantic comedy with commitment issues.
Headland gets the meet-cute out of the way in the first scene, as Lainey (Alison Brie) makes a spectacle in a college dorm yelling at the top of her lungs and banging on the door of the unseen object of her affection. Jake (Jason Sudeikis) pulls her away to cool off in his room and proceeds to smoothly seduce her with smart-aleck humor and putdowns of the mystery man who stood her up (“he’s the Pontiac Aztec of people”). Naturally, they wind up sleeping together on the roof of the dorm.
Twelve years later, Jake has been dumped by the latest in a string of girlfriends for his chronic infidelity, while Lainey confesses to her b.f. (Adam Brody, stealing his single scene) that she’s been sleeping with someone else. That leads them both to the same sex-addiction meeting, where they walk out and strike up the platonic friendship that eluded them in college. (Lainey simply disappeared after their night together.)
Turns out they’re both stuck in time: Lainey still carries a torch for her college crush, Matthew Sobvechik (Adam Scott, deliberately ditching his usual charm), now a married OB-GYN with a creepy moustache who doesn’t mind indulging Lainey’s occasional booty calls, and Jake hasn’t been able to find a woman who satisfies him emotionally since college.
As Jake and Lainey banter endlessly, and sometimes amusingly, it never occurs to them that being in a relationship with each other might actually solve their problems. Their obliviousness feels more like a romantic-comedy convention than anything that arises organically from the characters, try as Headland might to give her leads more layers than the genre norm.
The attempt works better for Lainey, since Brie is an actress capable of shifting on a dime from broad physical comedy (her ecstasy-spiked dance to David Bowie’s “Modern Life” at a kiddie birthday party is a comic high point, choreographed by Mandy Moore) to subtle drama (Lainey’s tortured affair with Matthew could constitute its own, potentially more interesting, film). Sudeikis seems most at ease in wisecracking mode and perhaps consequently, Jake never feels as deeply developed, despite the script’s insistence that multiple characters try to psychoanalyze why he can’t commit to another person.
Sleeping with Other People is an American romantic comedy film directed and written by Leslye Headland. The film stars Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Natasha Lyonne, Amanda Peet and Adam Scott. It premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival on January 24, 2015. The film is scheduled to be released on September 11, 2015, by IFC Films.
Essentially an updated “When Harry Met Sally … ” with texting (or, as Headland described the characters at the Sundance preem, “with a–holes”), two quippy New Yorkers spend more than 90 minutes trying to answer whether a man and a woman can be friends without romance entering the picture. Adhering pretty strictly to romantic-comedy conventions, the pic feels too broad for the arthouse and too small for the multiplex, leaving it in an uncomfortable commercial gray area.
The principal photography of the film began on June 26, 2014 in New York City near the area of Essex and Stanton Streets. On July 2, they were filming a wedding scene with Sudeikis and Brie. On July 8, both actors were filming some arguing scenes for the film around the Central Park.
Sleeping with Other People
Directed by: Leslye Headland
Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Natasha Lyonne, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet, Daniella Pineda, Andrea Savage, Athena Alexis
Screenplay by: Leslye Headland
Production Design by: Amy Williams
Cinematography by: Ben Kutchins
Film Editing by: Paul Frank
Costume Design by: Leah Katznelson
Art Direction by: Gonzalo Cordoba
Music by: Andrew Feltenstein, John Nau
MPAA Rating: R for strong sexual content, language including sexual references, and some drug use.
Studio: IFC Films
Release Date: September 11, 2015
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