After playing nothing but sardonic twerps, sexual hounds and domestic dolts for the last six or seven years in Hall Pass, A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, Horrible Bosses, The Campaign, Drinking Buddies, We’re the Millers and Horrible Bosses 2, Jason Sudekis has suddenly turned over a new leaf and shifted into “heartthrob territory” in Sleeping With Other People (IFC Films, 9.11).
That’s the basic notion, at least, contained in yesterday’s 8.30 N.Y. Times profile of Sudekis by Kathryn Shattuck.
I’ve seen and had a pretty good time with Sleeping With Other People. There’s no question that Sudekis does a fine job of playing his best-written character yet — a smart, sensitive 30something sex-addict named Jake. A guy who seems relatively mature and balanced and open to the moment, and who knows how to treat a lady with kindness and tact. And who definitely knows what to do with his fingers.
I muttered to myself right away, “Okay, for once Sudekis is playing a guy who’s not only tolerable but somebody I can identify with.”
The movie is one of those delayed-orgasm romances in the vein of When Harry Met Sally. Jake likes and gets along beautifully with Lainey (the not-hot-enough Alison Brie), who’s also a sex addict of sorts. They do the platonic thing on date after date and in scene after scene until they finally let their true feelings out.
I don’t care if N.Y. Times critic A.O. Scott wrote that Sudekis had become “catnip for the ladies” after playing a “genial, excitable doofus” in Hall Pass and We’re the Millers. What woman in her right mind would regard those assholes as fucking “catnip”?
I’m all for Sudekis transitioning out of this and playing variations of Jake for the next 10 to 20 years, fine, but you can’t expect me to just forget the doofusy thing. Remnants are hanging around Sudekis like radiation, like an African fart that somebody cut in a bathroom about 40 seconds ago. These things take time.