Sleeping With Other People

29 October 2015 | 6:55 pm | David O’Connell

"An interesting take on the rom-com."

Two friends reunite 12 years after a brief college fling. Jake (Jason Sudeikis) is a womaniser, who can't help but sabotage every relationship he is in, while Lainey (Alison Brie) is a cheater, addicted to sleeping with one of her old exes. Together they form aplatonic friendship and a support group, to help with the complications of dating and sex. 

Well, apparently the love child of When Harry Met Sally is now old enough to date, and have a Tinder profile. Sleeping With Other People is an attempt at a fresh take on the romantic comedy, and is mostly successful at that. Buoyed by the charisma of its leads, and some sharp, witty dialogue, there is something enchanting about this film. Which is strange to say, as it also has some of the most filthily funny lines in it, doled out, rapid fire. It is in that strange zone of charming romance and brutal honest sex comedy, that Sleeping With Other People stakes out its territory. The fact that it is in any way successful at this says a lot of positive things about its writer/director, as well as its cast. 

Leslye Headland creates a modern take on the romantic comedy masquerading as an anti-rom com. Her cynical take on relationships is refreshing and emotionally genuine (mostly), in so much as it plays with personal insecurities and fears to commitment. There are no great obstacles placed in the way of the relationship besides; career, self-understanding, and a fickle heart. All completely believable. Instead it is up to the characters to come to that understanding, albeit expressed with a disdain for the social conventions and expectations around them. It is more than cynicism for its own sake, there is a genuine voice here, raising valid questions. The failing with Sleeping With Other People is that it doesn't really do more with this, and the third act falls towards a very standard resolution.

Sudeikis and Brie are a great match for each other. There is a genuine chemistry to their onscreen antics, making these characters much more likeable than they have any reason to be. Sudeikis' quick wit and sophistry, come across as charming rather than smarmy. Sure he is selfish and manipulative, but they are traits Jake is aware of and trying to fix. Similarly, Lainey is aware of her issues, but equally imprisoned by them, even as she attempts to move on. Brie fills Lainey with a vibrancy, and the perfect mix of fragility and pure steel. We've seen Brie handle comedy before (Community), but here she gives it a degree of nuance and emotional depth that makes Lainey feel real.  

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An interesting take on the rom-com, Sleeping With Other People has a lot more heart beneath its cool exterior than it perhaps wants to admit.

Originally published by X-Press Magazine