PREMATURE EVALUATIONS: LIFE PARTNERS 2014 dir. Susanna Fogel


lifepartnersSome people are lucky enough to have that one best friend, that person that has seen them through both good and bad, and been their partner in crime through all sorts of misadventures. It’s rough when incidents happen causing a rift between friends like that. Rifts like this are tantamount to a lover’s split or even worse, like a divorce. When someone knows you that well, they have ammunition to hurt that while not lethal, you probably wish that it had been. In Magnolia Pictures latest release, LIFE PARTNERS, Leighton Meester and Gillian Jacobs play Sasha and Paige, best friends tested when one of them gets in a committed relationship.

Meester (Gossip Girl, THE JUDGE) plays Sasha, a musician working as a receptionist to pay the bills. Jacobs (Community, WALK OF SHAME) is Paige, an environmental lawyer finally coming into her own, seeing some success at work. The two have been long time best friends despite different backgrounds, as they fill in aspects that the other lacks. Where Sasha is more of a free spirit, Paige is a little more practical. And while Paige is straight, Sasha is a lesbian.

lifepartners1When Paige isn’t watching America’s Next Top model with Paige while drinking wine in their PJs, she’s hanging out with her friends Jen 1.0 (Gabourey Sidibe, PRECIOUS, American Horror Story) and Jenn (Beth Dover, THE TEN, LEONARD IN SLOW MOTION). The two Jen(n)s frequent an outdoor bar/restaurant, checking out the other single lesbians. It isn’t your typical bar crowd you see in films, but it works as a background for this comedy. Paige and Sasha meet up there before heading off to their own separate blind dates.

Paige’s date is with geeky doctor Tim, played by Adam Brody (The OC, JENNIFER’S BODY), with a penchant for slogan t-shirts and movie quotes. Sasha’s date was with a girl that worked for To Catch a Predator as a decoy. Despite Paige not having seen all of THE BIG LEBOWSKI, she hit it off with her date, but Sasha didn’t have the same luck.

lifepartners2As Paige and Tim grow closer, Sasha feels pushed out more and more as her friend has less time for her. On top of that, she’s becoming more and more unhappy with her chosen life path. Meester does a great job of portraying someone in serious life flux. As someone that has struggled late in the game with what they want to do, I could relate to her issues despite me not being a young, constantly single lesbian musician.

One thing that I appreciated in the film, besides the well written characters and humor, was that they opted not to go with the cliche of having the gay friend fall for the straight one. These two girls feel legit as friends, almost sister like, allowing you to buy into the overall story all the more. Also, the story does a great job of not tilting the story towards one friend over the other. Both get equal time, allowing their stories to marinate. LIFE PARTNERS allowed for a full story arc, so we aren’t just getting a slice of life as some indie comedies resort to.

lifepartners3Brody is amusing in his role, despite getting shifted more into the background. He is used as more of a catalyst for Paige’s character, but he does get some good lines in throughout. And Sidibe sadly doesn’t get enough screen time, as I wanted more of Jen 1.0’s character as the slightly butch black girl not afraid to play the scene.

LIFE PARTNERS is available on Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital download March 3rd, 2015 from Magnolia Home Entertainment.

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