Movie Review: “Sleeping With Other People”

Leslye Headland’s sophomore feature, “Sleeping With Other People,” certainly isn’t a bad movie. But as her follow up to 2012’s raunchy and deliciously mean-spirited “Bachelorette,” which starred a knockout trio made up of Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher, her latest film can’t help but drastically pale in comparison.

Its title would suggest another sex-heavy comedy that would make comparisons to “Bachelorette” seem fairly obvious. But “Sleeping With Other People” is a surprisingly tame, grounded film that deals with what happens when friends start to feel a romantic and sexual connection budding amidst their platonic relationship.

In this case, the friends at the center are Lainey and Jake, played by the very likable Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis. They lost their virginity to each other during a one-night-stand in college, and years later reconnect in the most unlikely of places: a support group for sex addicts in New York City. A tentative friendship starts to bloom, which soon turns into a full-blown BFF situation. However, it’s clear that there’s more going on under the surface, as the characters are not only physically attracted to one and other, but complicated emotions such as jealously and possessiveness eventually rear their ugly heads.

While it’s certainly refreshing to witness such a low-key, level-headed film that’s more concerned with grounding itself in reality rather than over-the-top sexual hijinks, there’s an energy, an electricity, that’s absolutely absent from the final product.

In “Bachelorette” we were introduced to characters who often flaunted the fact that they were devoid of human compassion and kindness — the kind of friends that inspire the saying “with friends like these, who needs enemies?” But at least they were a blast to be around, and the fact that Hedland let their vileness run free made it stand out in the pantheon of female-driven movies.

Here our two leads are pleasant enough to be around, but they unfortunately prove to be a bit of a bore, making for an all too tame – and all too forgettable – romantic dramady, one that’s destined to live in the shadow of better films of its kind.

Rating: C+

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