Sleeping With Other People


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Jake and Lainey impulsively lose their virginity to each other in college. When their paths cross 12 years later in NYC, they realize they both have become serial cheaters. Bonding over their chronic infidelity, they form a platonic friendship to support each other in their quests for healthy romantic relationships.
"If this is romance, it's dead." | Photo: Courtesy of Sundance Institute

After the bitchy fun of Bachelorette, Leslye Headland takes a large backwards step with her follow-up, which despite a strong cast including Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis, is big on misogyny, short on laughs and even shorter on believibility.

Things go wrong from the start, as we flashback in time to meet the central couple Lainey (Brie) and Jake (Sudeikis) when they first meet as college kids. This would be fine if it weren't for the fact that the actors play the younger versions of themselves, which given that Brie won't see 30 again and Sudeikis is pushing 40, shoves all credibility out of the window. Lainey is trashing the dorm because the man she wants to see (later played by Adam Scott) is ignoring her. Before you can say, oh God not another meet-cute, she and Jake are making out on the sort of handily placed, cinematic roof that only appears in this kind of film and, whoops, there goes their virginity.

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Flash-forward 10 or so years and things aren't going well for either of them as, despite neither having any trouble attracting a mate, they just can't make things last - Jake because he's a commitment-phobe and Lainey because she still holds a torch for gynaecologist Matthew (Scott). So when Jake and Brie bump into one another at a sex addict meeting, they decide to try to help each other get over their problem through friendship (no sex, please, we're skittish) - and we all know what happens next in the world according to romcom.

The big problem here is the oldest one in the book, simple sexism. Headland presents Jake as a lovable rogue despite the fact he loves 'em and leaves 'em, whereas Lainey seems to be more or less pathetic, just unable to get over The Guy. No doubt Headland also thought making The Guy a gynaecologist was hilarious in and of itself. At one point, Headland even has Lainey confess that she has never been able to give herself an orgasm - something even late bloomers have surely managed to achieve by the time they hit 15. To make matters worse, Jake then proceeds to tutor her in how best to give achieve this oh-so-complicated feat, using a empty bottle as a prop, and instead of slapping him in the face or falling about with laughter, she laps it all up.

Somewhere in the middle of all this - and over the end credits, which contain more laughs than the entire runtime of the film - lie Jake's friends Xander (Jason Mantzoukas) and his wife Naomi (Andrea Savage), whose even-handed banter is fresh and funny, only further serving to accentuate the staleness of the central pairing. If this is romance, it's dead.

Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2015
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A couple who lost their virginity to each other meet 12 years later and try to help one another find a lasting relationship.
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Director: Leslye Headland

Writer: Leslye Headland

Starring: Alison Brie, Jason Sudeikis, Amanda Peet, Natasha Lyonne, Adam Scott, Marc Blucas, Jason Mantzoukas, Andrea Savage, Daniella Pineda, Remy Nozik, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Megan Guinan, Sawyer Shipman, Jordan Carlos, Jamil Mena

Year: 2015

Runtime: 95 minutes

Country: US

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