If you’ve seen the film When Harry Met Sally (1989), you might be less than impressed with “Sleeping With Other People.” The plot in both films is quite similar, with the premise that best friends can be lovers. This film had the potential to keep me interested, considering Jason Sudeikis (Horrible Bosses 2) and Alison Brie (The Lego Movie) are superb in their leading roles. But the storyline came up short.
Lainey (Brie) and Jake (Sudeikis) were college crushes that lost their virginity together and twelve years later meet again with one thing in common – they’re sex addicts. But are they really sex addicts? Leslye Headland, the writer and director, tries to convey this angle yet fails at boldly selling the point consistently.
When they meet, Lainey can’t stay faithful, repeatedly cheating with Matthew (Adam Scott) and Jake quite simply is horny and has sex freely. Once they reconnect and spend time together, they recognize the feelings of attraction are still there, but they know they’re not the best at relationships. So they decide the best solution is to keep their relationship sex-free.
The story shows the couples celibate routine in dating, such as a scene on the couch watching a movie, and a child’s birthday party, where they take drugs to distract their true desires for each other. However, the viewer is quite aware of what is going to eventually transpire.
It’s difficult to fully appreciate the characters or be drawn to the weak development of the clichéd storyline. I can’t help but think of two previous films with a similar premise: Friends With Benefits (2011) starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis; and No Strings Attached (2011) starring Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman. Like these films, Sleeping With Other People is about two people still looking for love greater than themselves. It makes you ponder whether it’s become real hard to love other people or if we are just really scared to know ourselves before knowing what is true in love.
If you’re looking for a film that’s deep and heart-wrenching – you know, The Notebook (2004) variety – skip this film. If you just love watching romantic comedies, then go see Sleeping With Other People, there are some good laughs.