There has been a fair share of rom-coms breaking the mould as of late. Jason Schwartzman shone in The Overnight, Mark Duplass & Elizabeth Moss were exceptional in The One I Love, and Amy Schumer hit a home run with her film, Trainwreck. While Sleeping With Other People doesn’t quite get to the heights of the previously mentioned, it gives it a good go.
Writer/Director Leslye Headland has pitched Alison Brie (Lainey) and Jason Sudekis (Jake) against each other, as a couple that can never get together, but then would they ever work together? Probably, not only because they have plenty in common including the same reason they both are terrible at maintaining relationships, but also because at one point they were together. This back-and-forth takes up the majority of the film, with Brie parading around in skimpy outfits much to the guffaw of the audience as Sudekis tries with all his might not to have sex with her, meanwhile continuing his horrendous behaviour with other women, and she continues an affair with a married man played by a creepy mustachioed Adam Scott.
When written out like that, you might be asking why on earth you’d watch it. Well, when not taken too seriously it can be quite funny. The apparent lack of awareness as to how their behaviour impacts each other and those around them causes rifts of amusement for the audience, as we witness them both obliviously making key mistakes or aimlessly messing their lives up. Despite the humour that is supposed to be derived from their poor life choices, much of it treads a line between emotional misjudgment and absurd comedy, landing it in a middle-ground between average comedy and average drama. The clear-cut comedy comes from the continuous analysing from their close friends, who waste no time in trying to shine a light on their imperfections, yet both Brie and Sudekis consistently fight back with the standard fast and witty remarks.
There’s no real undertone of deepness or any considerable moments of personal and emotional realisation in this film, and yet on the other side of it all there’s no shocking moments that would usually make the audiences recoil in awkwardness. It almost felt like the film was churned out when they had some spare time. Effortless in areas, mainly due to the acting capabilities of the two leads, but in others it warranted the extra effort to push it that little bit further and take us out of our comfort zone, or make us actually care about the characters.
In the end, it was a fun watch, fumbling along with smart lines and good-humoured rapport with all involved, but nothing of any real substance, despite it’s best attempts to convince you otherwise. It could have been funnier, the characters could have been developed more, but I suppose that’s the point with these types of films; Inherently easy to watch, broadly inoffensive and definitely funny in places – it’s a film worth seeing if you want something nonsensical and simple to watch.