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Sleeping With Other People

Year: 2015
Production Co: Gloria Sanchez Productions
Director: Leslye Headland
Producer: Will Ferrell, Adam McKay
Writer: Leslye Headland
Cast: Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Amanda Peet, Adam Scott

Can two serial commitmentphobes find love when their common understanding forms a bond? It's a very marketing-worthy concept and this isn't a spoiler, but you know exactly where it's all going to go just from watching the trailer. It is a rom-com, after all.

We meet Jake (Jason Sudeikis) and Lainey (Alison Brie) when they're in college, the latter showing up in the former's dorm planning to lose her virginity to the buttoned down Sam (Adam Brody). When he doesn't open his door, Jake rescues the embarrassed Lainey by telling his dorm-mates she's there to see him. Over the course of the night they hit it off, become friends and end up in bed with each other.

Years later, after torpedoing his latest serious relationship with his serial infidelity, Jake is amazed to see Lainey at the AA-style sex addicts meeting he's agreed to attend.

They reconnect, striking up a renewed friendship based on their understanding about their compulsions, kindred spirits who really don't want to give up sex with all and sundry because they enjoy it so much. For Lainey, that means a dysfunctional infatuation with Sam because of their casual affair, his job as her gynecologist their cover even though he's marrying another woman.

Lainey knows she should swear off Sam, and Jake becomes her best friend and confidant in the process, just waiting for the Gods of movie rom-com physics to smile on them.

Tonally, Sleeping With Other People is a strange animal. At times it feels like a straight romantic comedy complete with the trailer-worthy set pieces and romantic hijinks, and at others, it thinks it's a smart, contemporary urban love story with realistic dialogue between people who talk like adults instead of rom-com movie characters

Part of the problem with the tone is Sudeikis. He delivers a script that's much hipper than a Katherine Heigl-style studio romp as best as he can, but he wasn't the best choice for the role of Jake. Partly because of his roles in much broader comedies like the Horrible Bosses series and partly just because of his wide grin and lanky body, he's a bit too goofy/funny to be at home in something that could have been written by a hipster Woody Allen.

Alison Brie seems more at home as she's not a laugh-out loud comic actress, effortlessly blending sexy and flawed. Like many films of the genre, a hip and gilded viewpoint of the Big Apple is as much a character as the humans, but the post-modern stylings can't really escape a traditional romantic comedy structure.

If you hate the corny commercial trappings of the genre you might get more out of it than you expect, but if you're after a smart, insightful comedy into modern relationships it's not exactly a genre standout.

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