Chick Flick Picks: Sleeping With Other People
By this point, rom-coms and their associated cliches seem to have taken up residence as the butt of many movie jokes. Whether that’s because studio rom-coms in the 2000s were decidedly uninspired or because women’s interests tend to be regarded as more frivolous than men’s, the traditional rom-com has been lingering in a sad, endangered state for quite a few years now. That’s why I couldn’t be more grateful for people like Mindy Kaling and writer/director Leslye Headland. Everyone credits Bridesmaids for proving women could be funny, but I’d argue that Headland’s Bachelorette, which came out the same year, was funnier, fresher and more romantic. With three female leads (Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher), it was a dark comedy about women’s friendship that also included three compelling rom-com throughlines for each of its leading ladies.
Now Headland brings that same freshness to her second film, Sleeping With Other People, with a tagline that reads “a romantic comedy with commitment issues.” Like the best romantic comedies, Sleeping With Other People doesn’t try to re-invent the genre. There’s familiar ground in the story of Jake (Jason Sudeikis) and Lainey (Alison Brie), but while the mileposts may look familiar, the characters themselves might not. Both Jake and Lainey are deeply flawed and not in simple ways that can be fixed by makeover montages. Instead, what you get in Sleeping With Other People is a sex-positive look at dating today and a closer examination of the stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what we deserve. Like any good rom-com, it doesn’t skimp on either the romance or the comedy, much of which is supplied by an excellent supporting cast that includes Adam Scott, Natasha Lyonne, Andrea Savage, Amanda Peet and Jason Mantzoukas.