By The Huffington Post News Editors
Can men and women be friends? That eternal question, best asked by Nora Ephron in “When Harry Met Sally,” takes center stage in Joe Swanberg’s new film “Drinking Buddies,” which premiered at the SXSW Film Festival on Saturday night.
Starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston, “Drinking Buddies” focuses on two couples, Luke and Jill (Johnson and Kendrick) and Kate and Chris (Wilde and Livingston), and the too-close-for-comfort relationship between drinking buddies Luke and Kate, co-workers at a Chicago brewery. There’s beer drinking, more beer drinking, even more beer drinking and lots of intriguing drama about what is worse for a relationship: physical affairs or emotional ones. As is Swanberg’s style, “Drinking Buddies” is unscripted; instead of writing a screenplay, Swanberg discussed the characters and story with his talented cast and filled in the blanks during the editing process.
“Typically, if you’re working from a script you’ve written a joke or moment on the page, and it’s really hard to tell if it’s landed.” Swanberg, best known for making films that fit into the indie sub-genre of mumblecore, said during a post-screening press conference. “You have to rely on the fact that you knew it was a funny joke when you wrote it and then, in the context of the movie, that it will land. This way, I’m watching it as a viewer; I’m watching it unfold. Then I know what’s working and not working.”
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