“Sleeping with Other People” is one of the most charming films of 2015

sleeping with other people
When I first saw Sleeping with Other People back earlier this year at the Tribeca Film Festival, I knew that I’d seen something special. It wasn’t just a funny comedy, and it wasn’t just a touching romance. The film mixed both heart and laughter with a reality raunch, if you can believe it. The end result was a movie that was my favorite thing at Tribeca 2015 and the one title from the fest that I couldn’t wait for more people to see. Well, this weekend is that time at last, as one of the year’s more charming fall releases is finally coming out.

In case you don’t remember, I’ll give you a brief overview of the flick. To sum up the film in short…it’s really a rather fresh take on the “friends who should be lovers” sub genre of the rom-com. Jason Sudeikis plays a womanizer who befriends a woman played by Alison Brie who he briefly met and slept with in college. They both trace their current sexual commitment issues to that meeting and pledge to become friends, with no benefits. They frankly discuss their sex lives and give each other guidance. It all goes swimmingly, until of course it becomes apparent that feelings are developing. It sounds rote, but trust me when I say that it’s not. In addition to Brie and Sudeikis, the cast includes Adam Brody, Natasha Lyonne, Jason Mantzoukas, Amanda Peet, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet, Katherine Waterston, and a host of solid supporting players in addition to those. Lesyle Headland writes and directs this potential indie crossover hit.

I really loved the cast in this, along with the writing. Sudeikis gets to play both inside and outside of his comfort zone here, which is a pleasure to see. When he’s required to be funny, it’s often in the type of wheelhouse he usually hangs out in, not that I’m complaining, mind you. It’s hilarious to watch, but it’s merely a better version of what he’s done for years now. It’s when the drama and romance kicks in that you see how good of a leading man he is. You almost believe him more when he’s serious. Part of this is how well he’s paired with Brie, but a lot of it is just his skills on display. I was incredibly impressed and want to see more of this from him in the future. Brie also does work here unlike anything she’s ever done before. Sure, there’s comedy to be found, but also some very serious drama that she handles with aplomb. Certainly, some credit goes to Headland for giving them the material, but Brie and Sudeikis nail it.

Sadly, I don’t expect any awards attention to come the way of Sleeping with Other People, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not deserving of consideration. Things like this always have an uphill battle and are usually out and out snubbed, which is a shame. It will probably have to be the Independent Spirit Awards or bust, though I’d love to see the Golden Globe Awards cite it, along with Brie and Sudeikis in their Comedy categories. That’s a huge long shot, along with the Academy actually considering Headland in Best Original Screenplay, but they’d be smart to give this one a look. It’s a wittier, edgier, and more romantic film than you’d expect.

Without question, Sleeping with Other People is one of the most crowd pleasing things to come out this month. On Friday, audiences will start to see what I’ve been raving about since Tribeca when it begins its theatrical run in limited release. By the end of September or the beginning of October, the movie should be playing wide if folks on the coast support it, which I hope they do. Brie, Headland, Sudeikis, and company all do some of their best work to date here, so it’s an easy flick to embrace. This week, the way for this one is over, so make sure you don’t ignore it. As much as anything this month, it deserves your attention…

Be sure to check out Sleeping with Other People, in theaters starting tomorrow!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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