Joe Swanberg chooses to mash his gently balanced mumble-com Drinking Buddies in a Chicago microbrewery, where marketing manager Kate, rendered in baggy vests and some elegant improv by Olivia Wilde, seems an obvious mate for co-worker Luke. They enjoy a playful friendship characterised by warm chats over lunch, gentle after-hour boozing, and their shared affection for a great pint. Were it not for Chris, Kate’s malt-supping older squeeze, and Luke’s vaguely insipid, low-ABV sweetheart Jill, they’d be dating.
A lesser-visited on-screen habitat, a craft brewery is a fine contemporary setting in which to savour a character-led cinematic sip. While at times it feels like Drinking Buddies can stare a little too hard into the depths of its own Pilsner-clear premise, it finds its groove with sincere, nuanced performances and a realistic attitude to romance as refreshing as a fistful of Citra hops. [Kirsty Leckie-Palmer]