Anna Kendrick was good in Drinking Buddies, but she’s better in Happy Christmas. This time, in another work of director Joe Swanberg, she plays an infectiously bubbly, if irresponsible, 27-year-old named Jenny, who’s moved to Chicago after breaking up with her boyfriend. She stays in the Windy City with her brother (played by Swanberg), and the film focuses on her struggle to balance her youthful energy with the realpolitik of growing up. And despite what the title suggests, the film’s not really about Christmas.
The trailer for Drinking Buddies goes down like something you’ve tasted a hundred times before, a rom com in which two couples somehow swap lovers and end up all the happier for it. Coming off more Hollywood than “mumblecore,” the preview makes you feel as though you know what you’re getting into — the tried-and-true altered just so much by indie influence, the cinematic equivalent of Blue Moon.
“Guilty pleasure” implies that you know something is bad, and yet you love it anyway. I’d go so far as to amend the term so that it acknowledges that part of you that actually enjoys the badness.