Sleeping With Other People Review: 21st Century Relationships Can Be Funny
Relationships in this still-young century have changed, and the purely sexual relationship seems to rule above companionship. In Sleeping With Other People, writer director Leslye Headland explores this modern relationship, as she tries her best to create a Woody Allen-less Woody Allen film. Unfortunately, Headland lacks Allen’s sense of timing and structure, and that hurts this film.
Sleeping With Other People stars Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie as old college “friends” who lost their virginity to one another one night at his dorm. Flash forward 12 years, and Jake (Sudeikis) is now a man-whore who sleeps with anyone and Lainey (Brie) is still inexplicably hung up on the guy (Adam Scott) she was obsessed with in college. They reconnect at a sex addicts meeting and make a pledge to be friends with no benefits whatsoever and comedy tries to ensue.
The problem lies in the fact that Jake is in love with Lainey (of course), and uses this as an excuse to sleep with anyone and everyone (all off camera). Lainey is relegated to the classic “weak female protagonist” who pines over a married man (Scott) she can’t have and doesn’t see that the right man for her is the one sitting next to her.
Sleeping With Other People borrows from so many other, better movies that it never finds its own identity. As much as it tries to be a Woody Allen film, it also dips into Reiner/Ephron territory on multiple occasions, and fails miserably in most accounts.
The one bright spot is Jason Sudeikis. He was very relatable and most, if not all, of the laughs come from him and his comedic timing. I’ve never seen a rom-com be carried as far by one actor as much as in this film. Alison Brie, who I really enjoy in other things, is given absolutely nothing to work with here in Headland’s script. This is the cinematic equivalent to “sit there and look pretty.”
The cast is rounded out by Jason Mantzoukas (The League), as Jake’s best friend and business partner, Natasha Lyonne as Lainey’s best friend, and Amanda Peet, who plays Jake’s boss and a potential sexual conquest.
The real shame here is that Sleeping With Other People has the onscreen talent to be better, but a lackluster script by a writer/director too afraid to say what she really means holds the entire production back.
Sleeping With Other People is rated R and is in theaters now.
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