A movie review on a beer site? Yes, it’s happening. But only because this movie takes place in a craft brewery in Chicago (I think it was Chicago, we were debating that during the movie. Like everything else in the movie there is not a lot of clarification around this point). So this little piece of cinematic art revolves around a will-they-or-won’t-they story between two friends and coworkers at a Chicago craft brewery (like I said, I think it was Chicago). The cast was attractive and engaging and the acting was fine but the story just meandered around and by the end I was utterly confused as to how anyone had made the decisions that they made. When you are dealing with a story that is a sort of romance you need to understand why the characters do or don’t end up with each other and that was not clear at all. This is frustrating when you consider that the potential relationship between the two characters is the entire thrust of the movie.
So now to the beer. One of the things that got me interested in this movie in the first place was an interview I read with the director, Joe Swanberg, in which he talked about his homebrew hobby and how he got the cast together to make a batch of homebrew so they could better understand the brewing process. I thought that was a very cool team building exercise and it led me to believe beer was kind of important to the story. I mean it takes place in a brewery and the two leads are coworkers at that brewery. Olivia Wilde is in charge of marketing and Jake Johnson is a brewer (I guess, once again, totally unclear). I was very surprised by how little anyone talked about beer. One entire scene takes place in the brewery during a party that is ostensibly some sort of marketing event and NO ONE talks about the beer. It just seems extremely unrealistic. Having been to many a brewery and many a beer event I have heard enough beer talk to last me a lifetime and I still can’t get enough. People who work in breweries tend to do so because they are passionate about beer and brewing. The only nod to the beer was all the beer the characters were drinking and yet they never talked about it. Which is highly unusual for anyone in the beer industry. There was barely a scene in the whole movie that didn’t show someone drinking a beer and you never heard anyone comment on what they were drinking. Even novices at beer tastings get in on the beer talk. They could have taken these characters and had them working in any other industry in the world and it wouldn’t have mattered. If they had been lawyers at a firm you could have told the same story and they would have talked about the law more.
So for the plodding pace and murky character motivations I give it a thumbs down and as far as we beer drinkers are concerned there is nothing in the way of beer talk to make it worth your while.