Sleeping With Other People opens with a pretty cliched premise – a woman who reconnects some years later with the man who took her virginity. But this romcom is very sweet and utterly charming, thanks to the chemistry of the two leads and the clever script from writer-director Headland. If Woody Allen was 50 years younger, this is exactly the kind of film he would be making.
Jake (Sudeikis) meets Lainey (Brie) at Columbia University, and the pair end up losing their virginity to each other on the roof. Cut to the present day, and the pair run in to each other as Lainey is leaving a sex addiction group meeting. Jake is a serial womaniser who can't seem to stay faithful, while Lainey is having an affair with Matthew Sovochek (Scott), a man she has been involved with since college who is now a gynecologist and engaged to another woman. In spite of the fact that they are strongly attracted to each other, Lainey and Jake decide to stick to a platonic friendship.
A lot of films have explored the "can men and women simply be friends" question – most famously When Harry met Sally. It's said that the strongest relationships are built on a solid friendship, and that's what develops here. The film's biggest strength is the note-perfect performances from Brie and Sudeikis, who are completely believable and make Lainey and Jake into real people. Their conversations feel authentic and the relationship comes across as genuine. Brie – probably best known for her role as Annie in the brilliant TV series Community – is cute and warm, funny and charismatic, and she can move perfectly between the film's amusing moments and its more dramatic without a hitch. And while Sudeikis generally comes across as smug in most of his films, he's much softer and more approachable here. The film does flit between humour andd drama, but it works – isn't real life itself like that? And the humour can be raunchy, too – there's a lot of sex talk, and even a rather sweet scene where Jake teaches Lainey how to masturbate.
Sleeping With Other People is a film that proves that relatonships, and even life itself, are complicated and messy. It's one of those films where, as you're watching, you know exacty how it's going to end up – but you don't mind a bit because it's such an enjoyable ride getting there.