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Film Review: 'Sleeping With Other People' - Unconventionally Romantic

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Lainey (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudeikis) in Leslye Headland’s film 'Sleeping With Other People.' Courtesy of Linda Källérus. An IFC Films Release.

Directed by Leslye Headland, Sleeping With Other People, comes from Gloria Sanchez Productions, a branch of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay’s Gary Sanchez Productions that focuses on female-helmed projects.  With the latter company behind films like The Other Guys, from the outset Sleeping With Other People has the same stamp of quality all over it. Both hilarious and supremely touching, this is a story that explores the multiple facets of infatuation, friendship and love, while offering us a little something different from the predictable rom com. This, all wrapped up nicely in the talented countenances of Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis, makes for funny and entertaining viewing.

When college students Lainey and Jake lose their virginities to each other overlooking the New York skyline, it is a night of companionship, shared loneliness and sudden romance. Years later, the two have gone their separate ways and are involved in equally unconventional sexual escapades but it seems fate, or the surprising smallness of New York City, has other ideas.

Together, the two characters embark upon a friendship that has all the complications you’d expect of a male and female in a romantic comedy, but also the wonderful closeness and unassuming intimacy that comes with two people who genuinely care about each other.

Brie and Sudeikis embody their characters so well that their tale becomes entirely believable and we really begin to root for them. They convey a vulnerability that can be identified with, making their characters accessible and multi-faceted.

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Lainey (Alison Brie) and Jake (Jason Sudeikis) in Leslye Headland’s film 'Sleeping With Other People.' Courtesy of Linda Källérus. An IFC Films Release.

Adam Scott plays Matthew, an older guy that Lainey has been infatuated since college and here the story begins to deepen in its exploration of obsession and something Lainey calls “love addiction.” Scott is made up to look supremely villainous and unattractive with slicked-down hair, unstylish glasses and a thin moustache. Nevertheless, Brie’s portrayal of Lainey and her infatuation with Matthew is so believable that this part of the storyline works, even though it shouldn’t.

The other believable, and more prominent, storyline element lies in Lainey and Jake’s relationship and its unconventionality. Through Lainey’s conversations with her friend Kara (Natasha Lyonne) and Jake’s conversations with co-worker Xander (Jason Mantzoukas), we gain a strong perspective on the main characters’ dynamic; namely that everyone thinks they should get together and yet what they have is so much more than anyone else understands.

With Brie and Sudeikis, as well as Scott, Mantzoukas, Lyonne, Adam Brody and Jordan Carlos heading up the supporting cast, Sleeping With Other People has the star power of some comedy sitcom greats and uses it to the utmost, playing to everyone’s strengths and succeeding in the attempt.

Sleeping With Other People is now playing in San Francisco.