The film follows the friendship of Sasha (Leighton Meester) and Paige, two friends who are hopelessly co-dependent on each other. Sasha is a lesbian who is in and out of love, working a menial job as a receptionist for a real estate brokerage firm while also attempting a career in music. Paige (Gillian Jacobs) is a high-strung environmental lawyer whose impossible standards are preventing her from meeting any men with whom she can have a consistent, healthy relationship. That all changes when she meets a young doctor named Tim (Adam Brody), but their budding romance creates a space in Sasha’s life that forces her to reassess her immature and meandering lifestyle.
Where Life Partners finds its footing is in its unwillingness to bend to any sort of classification. Instead, it allows a credible relationship to be tested right before our eyes. Many folks, not just women but men as well, will identify some of the very real, visceral concerns presented here that are part and parcel when approaching the advent of your 30s. Paige has the career, but lacks the romantic companionship. Sasha finds herself unmotivated to aggressively pursue the career she planned for, and her best friend’s life is ascending into normalcy while she’s still emotionally stuck at the age of 25. What begins as the story of two wayward women who share a bond over their hopeless pursuits of happiness, suddenly turns into a parental dynamic in which Paige, now imbued with a new-found sense of righteousness, makes Sasha’s downward spiral of age-inappropriate frivolity her personal crusade.
Fogel lets the story breathe in a sense, breaking the characters apart and giving them separate space to arrive at the solutions to their own issues alone. Surprisingly, and despite addressing the ever-present self-awareness of the millennial crowd up-to-and-including the bully pulpit of social media, there’s not a single character in the story that you don’t like.
Adam Brody may actually have the toughest role in the film, because his character Tim is the typical formulaic impetus that is often portrayed as the bad guy in films like these. Instead, he’s an instantly-likable guy whose only crime is falling in love with Sasha’s best friend, and maybe an overuse of insider film quotes. Gabourey Sidibe also has a small but fun role as one of Sasha’s fellow lesbian friends: Jen 1 (with one “n”), and her counterpart Jenn 2 played by the always entertaining Beth Dover. Current Saturday Night Live cast member Kate McKinnon also has a hilarious cameo as one of Sasha’s dates, who works as a stand-in on the popular-yet-creepy series “To Catch A Predator”, and former SNL alumna Abby Elliott plays another of Sasha’s potential girlfriends.
While I can’t say that Life Partners is a masterpiece, I can say that there is more to this fun little movie than meets the eye. In the end, Susanna Fogel has created a film that is at times a social satire, a romantic comedy, and a coming-of-age tale all woven together into a satisfying and heartfelt chronicle of a beautiful friendship.