Indie Snapshot: Drinking Buddies

by Ethan Alter August 23, 2013 5:55 am
Indie Snapshot: <i>Drinking Buddies</i>

After seven years and some 14 features, Drinking Buddies marks prolific writer/director Joe Swanberg's inevitable graduation from no-budget mumblecore to low-budget indie. What's the difference between the two? Well, both are primarily focused on the relationship travails of attractive twenty and/or thirtysomethings and consist largely of the characters hanging out in a series of ordinary, nondescript locations -- bars, apartments and sterile offices -- yapping endlessly about their lives and loves. But where homegrown mumblecore features often star the filmmaker's friends and family and tend to wear their technical scruffiness like a badge of honor, indies use their ever-so-slightly higher budgets to present a more polished face to the world and attract professional actors looking to up their cred. That's precisely why Drinking Buddies, which otherwise mines some of the same dramatic territory as many of Swanberg's mumblecore flicks, is his glossiest-looking film to date and boasts his highest-profile ensemble of actors, including Olivia Wilde, Ron Livingston, Anna Kendrick and, best of all, Jake Johnson, who gets the feature film equivalent of his New Girl breakout turn here.

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