Written and Directed by Leslye Headland
Starring Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie, and Adam Scott
Who doesn’t love a good sex comedy? In a post Sex and the City world, filmmakers have injected frank discussions of sex and sexuality into mainstream films. Leslye Headland’s SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE is the latest to use sex as humour, or at least that is her goal, as the film really is not very sexy, nor is it particularly funny either.
We open in 2002; college students Jake (Jason Sudeikis) and Lainey (Alison Brie) have been thrust together after Lainey is locked out of a potential lover’s dorm. After discussing their romantic misadventures, Jake and Lainey lose their virginity to one another, in a somewhat charming one-night stand. Present day, Lainey continues to cheat on her boyfriends with college crush Matthew (Adam Scott) and Jake is a shameless womanizer. The two meet at a sex addicts meeting and form a relationship that they decide will be strictly platonic. Of course, the WHEN HARRY MET SALLY rule comes into play, and you can figure out what happens from there.
SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE wants to think that it is the WHEN HARRY MET SALLY for the next generation, but its missing all the aspects that made the Rob Reiner classic so great. To boot, Jake and Lainey are simply not very likeable. Jake is a sexist pig, and Lainey is a heartbreaker. So these two kind of deserve each other. Besides reiterating the whole “men and women cannot be friends without sex getting in the way” thing, SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE fails to make any commentary on the modern romantic relationship. Headland seems to think that if she injects a bunch of random – and totally out of place – movie references into her script, that she can win over the crowd going to see this indie film, but this is certainly not the case. I mean, who turns off MISERY mid-way through on a date? Nobody!
We all must band together and stop Sudeikis from playing characters in their late twenties / early thirties. No wonder Maggie Gyllenhaal is complaining that she can only get cast as the love interests of old men. It was funny eight years ago, but I really cannot watch this 40-year-old prey on young women on film anymore. It’s just creepy. It also doesn’t seem to help that the thirty-year-old Brie looks much younger. The actor can really deliver a joke, the film exemplifies this, but he feels completely miscast in the role of Jake.
When all is said and done, there is nothing extremely memorable about the SLEEPING WITH OTHER PEOPLE. It reiterates tropes from previous works, failing to add anything original to the rom-com zeitgeist. I will give it credit for being the third film (After MAUVAIS SANG and FRANCES HA) to use David Bowie’s Modern Love in exemplary fashion, but one fun dance scene really is not enough to save this painfully uninventive film.