Comedies about sex and coupling have long been big business in Hollywood because, let’s face it, sex sells and most envisage finding a Mr or Ms Right with a happily ever after ending – be that realistic or NOT! So give it up for yet another rom-com on the subject.
When we are first introduced to them, Jake (Jason Sudeikis from Horrible Bosses 2) and Lainey (Alison Brie – The Lego Movie) are a couple of college students who impulsively lose their virginity to each other. But after a night of passion Lainey bolts and the pair don’t hook up again until 12 years later in New York City when they realise they have both become serial cheaters. That has manifested itself in different ways. Lainey can’t get over the one man, Matthew (Adam Scott – Black Mass), a gynecologist whom she first met at Columbia University before she hooked up with Jake. He is like a drug to her and just being in the same room as him sends her crazy.
Jake, on the other hand, evolved from a late bloomer to a charming womanizer. He can get just about anyone to sleep with him, but he’s terrified about getting his heart broken. He never sleeps with a woman he would care about losing. Bonding over their chronic commitment issues, Jake and Lainey form a platonic friendship to support each other in their respective quests for healthy romantic relationships. So the pair we meet at the start of the story have become more complex adults.
For writer/director Leslye Headland (Bachelorette), Sleeping With Other People was a deeply personal project and in casting Brie as the lead female she felt she was really casting herself, so close was she to the character.
Jake comes across as a real charmer, while Lainey for all her smarts is really dumb when it comes to dealing with the biggest obstacle in her life. Ironically, for all the talk about sex and having sex, although we – the audience – know from the outset that this pair is destined to be together, apart from their initial fling a dozen years back, now they won’t lay a hand on each other. The sexual tension between them is palpable, but they even have a code word they use with one another when the heat in the kitchen becomes too much. That, of course, is what the movie is built around. When will they finally get it on? Of course, other relationships have to intervene, otherwise you wouldn’t have a movie in the first instance.
Part of the zaniness in Sleeping With Other People comes from the relationship that Jake’s best friend and business partner Xander (Jason Mantzoukas – The Dictator) has with his wife, Naomi (Andrea Savage – Stepbrothers). That pair is happily married with children, but they are forever playing. Incidentally, their best interchange is saved for the final credits, so please stay for that. Also featuring Amanda Peet as Jake’s boss, this is feel good entertainment that should satisfy cinema-goers of various ages – from your typical 18 to 25-year-olds to older adults happy for a laugh and a bit of popcorn fun.
Rated MA, it is lighthearted, fanciful and a bit silly, but enjoyable and scores a 7 out of 10.
Director: Leslye Headland
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet, Natasha Lyonne and Adam Brody
Release Date: 29 October 2015
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television