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Welcome to The Fourth Wall, CHIRP's weekly e-conversation on cinema. This week's subject is the 2013 comedy-drama Drinking Buddies.
This edition is written by CHIRP Radio volunteers Kevin Fullam and Clarence Ewing.
We've delved into the world of marriage in The Fourth Wall via Revolutionary Road, but I don't think we've done the same with dating and singledom? Countless hours and millions of dollars have gone into trying to figure out which sorts of people are compatible. And parsing it further, which traits are compatible. Christian Rudder turned the "science" of compatibility into a dating website (OKCupid) and later a book (Dataclysm) which revealed all sorts of interesting societal quirks that were gleaned while trying to crack this mystery.
[Something that CHIRP listeners might appreciate is the Dataclysm breakdown of musical preferences in dating profiles by race. In a finding that will likely surprise no one, there apparently ain't a band that denotes "whiteness" more than Belle & Sebastian. Ha!]
In Hollywood, the notion of compatibility has historically been rather simple. How many times have we seen partners portrayed as being completely alike... or polar opposites? "Let's draw up a man and woman who have nothing in common, and watch the sparks fly when they meet!" Though I generally get the feeling that when film and television depict already-established couples, they're often more alike than not? Steven and Elyse Keaton of Family Ties. Claire and Cliff Huxtable of The Cosby Show (uh, too soon...?). Any of the mob wives on The Sopranos. (We would expect them all to be as shallow and materialistic as their criminal husbands, and we are not disappointed.)
In director Joe Swanberg's 2013 film Drinking Buddies, we follow a pair of seemingly disparate Chicago couples. Kate (Olivia Wilde) is a free spirit who's also the marketing arm of Revolution Brewing, and she's seeing Chris (Ron Livingston), an introspective bookworm and music producer. Meanwhile, Kate's co-worker, the gregarious Luke (Jake Johnson) is a toiler on the brewery floor who lives with Jill (Anna Kendrick), a sweet, well-manicured woman who enjoys fine arts in her spare time.