⋆⋆⋆ out of four stars
Rated: R for language throughout.
Olivia Wilde loses the makeup that made her the fanboys’ feminine ideal in “Tron” and “Cowboys & Aliens” and turns believably, charmingly working-class for “Drinking Buddies,” a wistful romance about couples wishing they were couples with someone else.
Kate (Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are old friends who work at Chicago’s Revolution Brewery — he’s in production, she’s just “one of the boys,” even though she works in marketing.
Kate’s a little bit too much “one of the boys” for her bookish beau, Chris (Ron Livingston). And when Luke takes up with cute special-ed teacher Jill (Anna Kendrick), Kate shows a glint of jealousy.
It’s only when they go off for a couples’ weekend at a cabin in the woods that this simmering mismatched chemistry is put on the stove and allowed to boil over.
The setup is predictably awkward and worn, but what they do with it and where the story takes us has plenty of surprises. We knew Livingston, Kendrick and Johnson (“Safety Not Guaranteed”) would work in this setting. But Wilde adds to the growing repertoire she showed off in “Deadfall” and “Butter,” films no one saw but which revealed that she’s a lot more than a pretty face.
ROGER MOORE • McClatchy News Service
⋆⋆⋆½ out of four stars
Rated: Not rated.
A love letter to the myriad pleasures of the leisurely gallery visit, director Jem Cohen’s spare but spectacularly visualized film follows a pair of middle-aged strangers who meet in a Viennese art museum and proceed to walk and talk. Cohen’s bold use of nonprofessional actors — Bobby Sommer as an Austrian museum guard and singer/songwriter Mary Margaret O’Hara as a Canadian visitor — aligns beautifully with his bid to put ordinary art lovers in the characters’ shoes, while rich high-def videography helps turn Rembrandt and Brueghel into the film’s true stars. (Reviewed during this year's Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival.)