Sleeping with Other People, 2015.
Written and Directed by Leslye Headland.
Starring Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Jason Mantzoukas, Adam Scott, Adam Brody, Natasha Lyonne, Katherine Waterston, Andrea Savage, Marc Blucas and Amanda Peet
A good-natured womaniser and a serial cheater form a platonic relationship that helps reform them in ways, while a mutual attraction sets in.
Another week, another rom-com, at least that’s how it always seems to be throughout the many weeks of a cinematic year. But whilst the Nicholas Spark train keeps chugging along, it’s about time we had a romantic comedy that wasn’t all fairytale and schmaltz. Sleeping with Other People, produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (Anchorman), is such a film to shake up the genre with its look at relationships and love in 2015/6, and if the age-old question of whether men all women can just be friends is still as ripe as it was when Sally fell for Harry.
Indeed the film takes many of its questions and cues from Rob Reiner and Nora Ephron’s ultimate rom-com (with some neat homages to The Graduate thrown in) and re-examines them through the brave new world. And Sleeping with Other People certainly is brave, choosing realism and frankness over happy-ever-afters and the like. Of course it has though moments, but it’s those that surround it that make the film so engaging and ultimately enjoyable.
Director Hedland, who previously made the hugely disappointing Bachelorette back in 2012, has been applauded by many as one of the brightest female directors around and finally with Sleeping she is showing such signs. Similarly with her first efforts, she takes her cues from Bridesmaids (amongst others) in treading the fine line between adult humour and flat-out vulgarity, only this time the balance is much better. It doesn’t always work mind, with some of the humour stepping too far and the final third becomes somewhat dull but for the most part, Sleeping… is great fun.
Much of the fun comes from two brilliant central performances from Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie, both of whom are at their best here. Both have struggled to find decent material over recent years, with Sudeikis returning to Horrible Bosses with its awful sequel,whilst Brie found herself stuck between light indie fare and equally poor films such as Get Hard. Neither have been able to build on the promise of Saturday Night Live or Community but finally they are given the right material to showcase their talents, with both equal parts charming and jovial.
It may have all the hallmarks of another by-the-numbers rom-com but Sleeping with Other People manages to be equally funny, honest and refreshing it is depiction of romance in the 21st century world. It’s not perfect, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a better film of its kind right now.
Sleeping With Other People will be available on DVD on February 22.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Scott J. Davis is Senior Staff Writer at Flickering Myth, and co-host and editor of The Flickering Myth Review Podcast. Follow him on Twitter.