Drinking Buddy Or Wifey Material

So I looked around my blog (that I affectionately call the Ding Dong) and I realized that I have been reviewing the trashiest movies.

This is my attempt at something a bit more sophisticated. I may not have chosen the latest art-house Norwegian short film. But it’s close, even though it doesn’t seem like it.

I saw drinking buddies’ trailer forever ago. It seemed like one of those movies that are meant to entertain the actors more than the audience. A couple of short interviews I saw here and there kept talking about how the script was improvised and how the cast was all drunk the whole time. The title alone doesn’t make it sound like the next Citizen Kane. So it’s very reluctantly that I watched this movie.

But guess what, I absolutely love it. My irrevocably cynical self adores movies that under-promise and over-deliver. And that’s exactly what this movie does.

My favorite part is probably the end. I can’t decide which I like best: Is it’s the voiceless ambiguity of the last scene, or the firm closure that Luke and Kate won’t get together? Because you can totally read both from the same scene.

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What I took from the whole banana thing is that Kate and Luke will continue to be the cheeky coworkers they are. Never actually get tell each other how they feel, and their chemistry keeps poisoning Kate’s relationships under Jill’s consenting nose.

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But staring at the rolling credits, I was wondering why! How come I found the ending satisfying even though the whole time I was rooting for Luke and Kate to “GET TOGETHER ALREADY”!

Yes. Luke and Kate *are* good together. But they shouldn’t be together. It’s not a Classic Rom Com. It’s an indie movie with just the right amount of “realism”.

And in real life, Luke has everything to win with Jill and everything to loose with Kate.

I love how this idea is hammered to us the entire time by showing Jill as the good wifey and Kate as the drinking buddy.

Jill is the kind of girl who gets complemented for her style, who decorates her home, who cooks for her hubby and his friends. She makes him cute veggie sandwiches and hands him his Tupperware on his way out.

On the other hand…

Kate doesn’t cook, she even eats her birthday cake leftovers from weeks ago. In fact, either she’s living on Chinese or she’s slowly starving to death. Did you see how she devoured Chris’ meal?

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So how does Luke feel about his 2 girlfriends. Well, on the one hand, he’s enjoying the perks of living the good life with Jill and putting up with a few “Let’s agree that we’ll think about maybe talking about marriage sometime”. And on the other hand, regardless of his chemistry with Kate, all he sees is a hot mess. Her place is gross. She’s not “adult-like”. She makes questionable decisions, drinks at work, doesn’t know how handle an emergency. Not to mention how poorly she handled his holy wound, especially when compared to Jill.

I make Luke sound like an asshole and I know he isn’t. But the case I am making is that deep down, Luke doesn’t think that Kate is the right girl for him. He’s the kind of guy to look for a girl that would take care of him, that he would date for 5 years and be engaged to for 7 but never actually get married to. He may seem “low-maintenance” and it may seem like he wouldn’t mind Kate’s mess and lack of “wifey material” (for lack of a better word) but I think he’s too “realistic” to seriously risk diving head-first in an office romance with a sloppy millennial.

That being said, I realize that it might not be that simple. because Luke really is the most layered character. He’s the perfect mashup of so many contradictory personas. The hat, the hair, the tattoo, the lumberjack beard, the “tough-guy-who-helps-you-move” attitude, and yet the plaid and the almost “meta” microbrewery work, all send so many mixed messages. And Luke ends up being some kind of Trucker/ Hipster mashup.

In any case, his doubts culminate when Jill confesses her little peck with Mr. Sisyphus. Her confession is perfect for adding yet another layer to the “wifey” narrative. It shows her as the remorseful good wife who can’t live another day hiding this tiny tiny little secret. She ended her vacation early and flew for 7 hours just to come clean with him.  But we all know that kiss is nothing compared to how far Luke’s gone with Kate. Notice his first question “Are you in love or something?”

Did Jill make him feel guilty? Of course. But I don’t think that’s why he stayed with her. I think he stayed  because he realized that if it were Kate in Jill’s shoes, it would have turned out completely differently. Kate would have brushed it off as nothing . She would have never told him, or “worse” she would have played the “independent woman” card and said something like “I never said we were exclusive!”. Why would he choose that drama over an innocent caring docile girlfriend who couldn’t live with herself for being 99.99% faithful.

But regardless of the gender roles behind the characters’ decisions, this is a beautiful feel-good mumblecore that is definitely  more than the sum of its parts.

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2 thoughts on “Drinking Buddy Or Wifey Material

  1. One of my favorite movies. I especially fell in love with Olivia Wilde here and I think this character of hers in Drinking Buddies is similar to me in a way… which is a bit sad. But I’ll take it.

    Liked by 1 person

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