‘Sleeping With Other People’ Review: Jason Sudeikis, Alison Brie Lead Smartest, Bawdiest Rom-Com Since ‘Bridesmaids’

Director Leslye Headland’s second film boasts witty dialogue, realistic characters and situations, and spot-on performances

“Sleeping With Other People,” which first screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January, may well be the smartest, bawdiest, hard-R-rated rom-com to come along since “Bridesmaids.”

The second directorial effort by Leslye Headland (“Bachelorette”) skews as closely as one can to classic romantic comedy tropes in a post-“They Came Together” world while demonstrating that witty dialogue, realistic characters and situations, and spot-on performances can make any seemingly played-out genre come back to life.

Jake (Jason Sudeikis) and Lainey (Alison Brie) first meet as Columbia undergrads and, over the course of an evening, wind up losing their virginities to each other. They then next meet a dozen years later at a 12-step meeting for sexual compulsives.

Neither quite fits that mold, however: Jake is, at worst, a shallow cocksman (sent to the meeting by an angry girlfriend who broke up with him anyway), while Lainey is more of a love addict, unable to shake her obsession with her nerdy OB/GYN (Adam Scott).

They start hanging out together and realize that they’re the only people on whom they can place sexual and emotional boundaries, and as they help each other through their respective quandaries, they naturally start falling in love, knowing all the while it could be a colossal mistake.

Even if you think you’ve seen this movie before, Headland’s gift for outrageous dialogue — Jake’s instructions to Lainey regarding proper female masturbation will probably be not only quoted in daily conversation but also screened in sex-ed classes for years to come — and Sudeikis and Brie’s comic chemistry make “Sleeping with Other People” a treat from start to finish.

The other elements of the film come together splendidly as well, from the loving-but-not-trite shots of Manhattan, courtesy of cinematographer Ben Kutchins (the “Veronica Mars” movie), to a first-rate comic ensemble that also includes Jason Mantzoukas, Andrea Savage, Natasha Lyonne, Amanda Peet, and Marc Blucas (plus brief but memorable appearances by Adam Brody, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Billy Eichner and Michael Cyril Creighton).

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