The scarily prolific Joe Swanberg works a minimalist, realist palette. His movies (he made eight of them in 2011 alone!) used to come affixed with the "mumblecore" tag - low-fi indies about the everyday travails of low-idle hipsters and urban twentysomethings.
In some respects, Drinking Buddies represents a departure. It has bigger stars, and a bigger budget to go with them. (And the characters all have real jobs.) But then, it's not that much of a departure: the movie's pivotal emotional moments occur during a hike in the woods and a move to a new apartment with a rental truck. Storm-tossed drama this is not.
Olivia Wilde is Kate, committed to her job at a Chicago craft beer company (she's "the face and voice of this brewery") - and committed to not much else. She's seeing Chris (Ron Livingston), a music producer with a loft, a vinyl collection, and a bit of an OCD issue. He gives Kate books to read - John Updike's Rabbit, Run, for one - and smart post-coital critiques to go with them. (The movie's other telling literary reference: a collection of Tony Hoagland poems, What Narcissism Means to Me.)
But at work, it's Kate and Luke (Jake Johnson) who seem like the real couple. They share their lunches and a jokey view of the world. They flirt. They food-fight. But Luke is in a relationship with Jill (Anna Kendrick) - they live together, they talk about marriage.