Rom-coms are ten a penny, so many are created for cinema and home release but so many disappoint, many come and go like Lord Lucan at a Police convention. Maybe we’re too cruel or quick in our opinions of the sub-genre when another appears we’ve already made our minds up it’s a flop. Are we too focused on the saccharine-coated fantasy fairytale idea of Cinderella will go to the ball and meet her perfect prince charming and things be happy ever after? Any sane person knows true love is never as simple as that and in Sleeping With Other People we get a big slice of the realism pie. A rom-com that’s not scared to get down and get dirty sex on the brain.
Sleeping With Other People tells the story of Jake (Jason Sudeikis) whilst at university in 2002 he comes to the rescue of Lainey (Alison Brie), whom the campus police are trying to throw out the building attempting to get into her boyfriends dorm. Jake comes to the rescue claiming Lainey is his guest, both then head to the rooftop before you know it both are now not virgins. We roll for 13 years we meet Jake again a womanizer whose just cheated on his girlfriend with her sister, Lainey is no different cheating on her boyfriend with her gynecologist, her original college love. Ironically the pair do have a reunion at the sex addiction meeting both were attending, they click really quickly decide to become friends. But as they get to know each other more and more can they just stay as friends and if they do become more will their own self-sabotaging lifestyles get in the way of happiness? Mousetrap.
Sleeping With Other People attempts to be a hedonistic When Harry Met Sally and does it fairly well. Its indie sensibilities are firmly on its sleeve which helps free it from the mainstream film rom-com expectations even if it falters as the film progresses. What director Leslye Headland does do well she picks up on the human race are perfect in any shape or form. Picking up the idea of old fashion romance is not always the recipe for a stable relationship, a generational thing. 21st Century hasn’t just refocused our every day lives, but also our vision of relationships and how to maintain a perfect balance. We now demand a little ‘extra’ something be it technology, support groups, swinging, even sex toys. It’s not all about A Brief Encounter or Sleepless In Seattle it’s more Banging in Brooklyn’ or ‘Sleeping with you, you and you in Seattle’.
You could say Woody Allen is a pioneer of modern day indie rom-com with the likes of Annie Hall evolving into including swearing, lots of sex and men teaching women masturbation techniques using a fruit juice bottle.
I’ve never been a massive fan of Jason Sudeikis but out of all the cast, he does feel the most naturally convincing of the cast. It’s a perfect platform for his cocky but dry sense of humour backed by the ad-libbing qualities of Jason Mantzoukas and Andrea Savage.They play Jake’s best buddies Xander & Naomi high on ‘Molly’ deliver some of the best one-liners of the film as well as an insight of what future lies ahead for Jake and Lainey if they become an item. Brie also delivers a solid performance that at a time is chameleonic, self-aware of her actions but also undeceive making her worst enemy.
Whilst the film works well on the basic levels of a rom-com, it sometimes comes across like a hipster film without the hipster beard. Scratching the surface of hip films but never delving any deeper than the surface, though this was a film never had to go ‘hip’ to be a success. It’s unapologetic approach on romance and that not all Prince Charming’s are charming but can be jerks with fruit juice bottles to achieve a woman sexual Valhalla. Sleeping With Other People shows woman can have one track minds, just sometimes need a male equivalent to work. Flawed but fun film which has its moments but life is one dirtbag too.
| Paul Devine
Comedy, Romance | USA, 2015 | 15| Icon Home Entertainment | 22nd February 2016 (UK) | Dir.Leslye Headland | Alison Brie, Jason Sudeikis, Jason Mantzoukas, Andrea Savage, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet | Buy: [DVD]