Sleeping With Other People, film review: Sharply-observed but predictable

(15)​ Leslye Headland, 101 mins. Starring: Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, Natasha Lyonne, Adam Scott, Amanda Peet

Geoffrey Macnab@TheIndyFilm
Friday 01 January 2016 04:06
Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie in ‘Sleeping with Other People’
Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie in ‘Sleeping with Other People’

There is a smug narcissism about the central characters in this romantic comedy which risks undermining its charm. Jake (Jason Sudeikis) and Lainey (Alison Brie) lose their virginity to each other as college students and then meet again many years later. Both have very complicated romantic lives. Jake is a relentless womaniser with a big crush on his boss (Amanda Peet) who tells jokes to mask his true feelings. Lainey has been having an affair with a married doctor (Scott), who was at college with her. It is obvious that Jake and Lainey are attracted to one another but they decide to keep their relationship on a platonic level and become best friends instead.

Writer-director Headland's screenplay is sharply observed in places and yields a few memorable set pieces (including a brawl in a restaurant that shocks a pregnant woman into going into labour.) It is also utterly predictable in its plotting. The whimsical tone means that nothing very much seems to be at stake for either Jake or Lainey. They blithely have affairs with other people and don't seem too cut up about their romantic disappointments. After all, they always have each other – and their bond is far stronger than anything they have with any of their various lovers. This is one of those films in which the way the story will unfold is obvious to everyone – except the main protagonists themselves.

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