Sleeping with Other People” deserves the attention “Bridesmaids” got a few years ago. It has the same magical combination of very adult humor, language and frank sexuality, with an honest, bitter streak that makes the laughs all the better. OK, Kristin Wiig isn’t in it, but other than that, it’s equally superior to most other romantic comedies.
When Lainey (Allison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudekis) meet in college, Brie is anxious to lose her virginity to a teaching assistant from one of her classes, and Sudekis mocks her choice of man. No one will be shocked to see that she and Sudekis end up together that night instead. The rapport between these two actors is delightful; each makes the other somehow irresistible. Each star is far enough away from the mainstream to be utterly refreshing, and they are an incredibly watchable pair.
The film catches up with them 12 years later, when both are adults struggling to maintain any semblance of an adult relationship. In two memorable scenes, we see how they handle romantic relationships. After being caught with a girlfriend’s best friend, Jake attempts to smooth things over in a manner so boldly manipulative that she pushes him in front of a cab.
While Jake is unapologetic about his monogamy challenged ways, Lainey is deeply ashamed of her problem. Her pain over her issues is real, and rather than being played for laughs, her attempt to come clean to boyfriend Adrian Brody is legitimately sad. Well, it’s also funny, but Lainey’s agony is part of what makes us care about this film.
I think we can safely apply the overused word “breakout” to Brie in “Sleeping with Other People.” Of course she had large TV roles in “Mad Men” and “Community,” but this movie is all hers. She is compelling beyond being simply cute, although obviously she is that, too. In the end, it is the intelligence of the script, the dialogue given to these two, that gives them such a strong foundation to work from.
The supporting cast ably fills out the story, especially Adam Scott as the guy stringing Lainey along, his icy and withholding manner somehow hypnotizing her for years and years. Natasha Lyonne is marvelous as Lainey’s acerbic and growly best friend.
“Sleeping with Other People” is a romantic comedy that makes you realize how terrible they can be, by being so good. The plot is straight out of “When Harry Met Sally,” with Lainey and Jake attempting to keep their relationship platonic while pursuing others. This is, in the end, a film for adults, with its darkly hilarious flavor of disappointment and its realistic portrayal of the difficulty of just growing up. It’s also for adults in that it has so much language and, er, coitus, so be forewarned. This is a capital R rated movie. And an unusually entertaining one.
“Sleeping With Other People” is playing at the Regal Mobile Stadium 18.