R, 101 minutes
“Sleeping with Other People” never made it far past the festival circuit and a modest theatrical release, but it was probably the best romantic movie I saw this year. It’s funny, smart, sexy and treats its main characters like knowable people rather than mice scuttling through the same tired old romcom maze.
Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis play a pair who lost their virginity to each other back in college, and reconnect as friends. Unlike the usual romantic movie tropes, in which the couple spend the entire film ignoring the fact that they’re perfect for each other, Lainey and Jake openly acknowledge their lingering attraction.
But they undertake a conscious effort to break free from their inability to commit, using each other as foils and advisors for the journey. They make a pledge not to hook up to see if they’re capable of love without sex, a notion that of course gets tested.
The dialogue from writer/director Leslye Headland (“Bachelorette”) is whip-smart and surprisingly honest. This is the sort of movie that blends romantic, comedic and dramatic elements so deftly that we don’t work to label it.