It was only while watching this film that I came to the realisation that I had never seen a film directed by Joe Swanberg before now. I was familiar with his work and had seen him act in a number of fellow Mumblecore filmmakers’ works, but this was to be my first encounter with un film de Joe Swanberg. And I really enjoyed it. A lot of that is to do with the great cast, brimming with actors I already enjoy. Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson have an incredibly believable and beautifully realised relationship – friends and colleagues who are clearly attracted to each other, and on many occasions come painfully close to consummating their feelings, were it not for the fact both of them are in a relationship – with Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick respectively. While they are also decent people, it is – perhaps unpredictably – those two who get together, which stirs the pot of both relationships, only pushing Wilde and Johnson’s characters closer together.
The tone is light and breezy, the dialogue improvised yet effortless and the setting – within the world of microbrewing – manages to be hip and slightly off-kilter without becoming unrealistically alternative or avant garde just for the sake of it. The film succeeds because it feels real, and you care for these characters because of how effortlessly they are created and how we can so easily project our own lives, situations, desires and problems onto them.