Recently there has been an impressive string of films highlighting the craft beer movement. Documentaries such as Beer Wars, American Beer, and The Beer Hunter have been viewed by many a beer geek. We've seen bottles from Stone, Sierra Nevada, and other breweries pop up in True Blood, Weeds, Cabin Fever, and many other shows. But with Magnolia Pictures' new feature film, Drinking Buddies, craft beer finally co-stars on the big screen. Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson star as craft brewery workers and best friends Kate and Luke. They are clearly perfect for each other but Kate is with Chris (Ron Livingston), and Luke is with Jill (Anna Kendrick). Jill wants to know if Luke is ready to talk about marriage and Kate is fine chilling with her music producer boyfriend Chris. When the two couples spend a weekend alone in a cabin, true feelings come out to play... of course with the help of a few beers. DRINKING BUDDIES is written and directed by Joe Swanberg.
Drinking Buddies is a superb observational comedy set at Revolution Brewing in Chicago. Olivia Wilde and Jake Johnson provide amazing performances of two people who are totally in love without realizing it. Set in a world of craft beer, obviously the beer is a key element to the film. The brewery remained open while Swanberg and crew were filming. The Revolution team even taught Johnson how to brew and put him to work cleaning kegs. Swanberg is a homebrewer and his dedication to craft beer is apparent when watching the film. You never feel that Drinking Buddies is cashing in on this booming industry. The story isn't revolutionary by any means, but Swanberg does a fine job of steering clear of typical rom-com cliches and avoids the obvious Hollywood ending.
If you're looking for a solid independent comedy or if you're interested in craft beer at all, you owe it to yourself to check out this film. Drinking Buddies hits theaters August 23 and is currently available for rental online at iTunes and Amazon.