Tribeca Film Festival 2014: ‘Life Partners’ a funny but familiar romantic comedy

Life Partners

Written by Susanna Fogel and Joni Lefkowitz

Directed by Susanna Fogel

USA, 2014

You’ve seen Life Partners before. While it isn’t always a bad thing that the late-20-something romantic comedy narrative seems overly familiar, its tropes eventually detract.

Sasha (Leighton Meester) and Paige (Gillian Jacobs) are best friends. Sasha is gay, Paige is straight. They call each other husband and wife, never miss America’s Next Top Model, and bemoan their respective dating woes regularly. When Paige starts dating Tim (Adam Brody), one newfound relation threatens to tear the old one apart.

Life.Partners

Writers Susanna Fogel and Joni Lefkowitz have a funny script filled with great one-liners, and hilarious observations (of, particularly, slogan T-shirts). Supporting actor Beth Dover, as Jenn, the lesbian who thinks everything is funny even when it’s really, really not, and Kate McKinnon in an all-too-brief cameo as an egotistical star of To Catch a Predator get the best dialogue and steal scenes, but Brody is the surprise here, delivering many of his s lines with deft timing.

Though the humor carries it a long way, Life Partners hits clichés from the outset, and Fogel and Lefkowitz seem more adept as sketch writers: each individual scenario has its share of laughs, but as the film moves from scene-to-scene the predictability drags.

It’s an odd thing when a film is structurally sound, well-acted, and funny but just doesn’t quite land. That’s Life Partners. Its plot is transparently textbook and it doesn’t do enough above and beyond that standard playbook to set it apart from the usual feel-good fare.

— Neal Dhand

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