During the Sydney Film Festival Graffiti’s own Andy Buckle checked out Joe Drinking Buddies Swanberg’s latest Happy Christmas out on digital in Australia July 25. Here’s the latest trailer.
Writer-turned-mum (a Kiwi-accented Melanie Lynskey) and scatterbrained alcoholic sis-in-law (Anna Kendrick in a role as villainous as she’ll play) bond unexpectedly in Joe Swanberg’s improv-driven festive comedy. It’s funny (charmingly and awkwardly so) and plain-old-enjoyable. The film is super low-budget and I bet the house where most of it is set is actually Swanberg’s place. He’s such a prolific filmmaker, smashing a film out every year. It is also a family affair with Swanberg’s son (or maybe nephew) appearing as the cutest baby ever. It may in-fact be cinema’s greatest baby performance. It rests pretty heavily on these baby-related gags, but that’s okay. The scenes between Swanberg and Kendrick, who play brother and sister so naturally, were my favourites, but this is ultimately about the two women. They are both going through transitions – one adapting to being a mum who still has aspirations to write, the other is a 27-year-old drifter who still abuses herself with alcohol and drugs to disconnect herself from her problems. There is a sweet, warming young woman in there, but she’s mostly toxic. They manage to bring the best out of each other, and the relationships are, as always for Swanberg, completely realistic.
[rating=3] and a half