Sasha (Leighton Meester) is a chronically single 29-year-old lesbian who dreams of being a musician but can’t be bothered to write any songs. Paige (Gillian Jacobs) is her straight best friend, an environmental lawyer who spends most nights at Sasha’s house so that the inseparable pair can sit on the couch and scream at America’s Next Top Model on TV. Whatever a “millennial” is, these girls are it, and Life Partners—the sweet but unambitious comedy about a close friendship inevitably threatened by other commitments—is limited by the same arch tone and flippant jokes that suffocate every other low-budget indie about Gen Y confronting adulthood.
Despite this, Life Partners manages to become something special without the benefit of a single original moment. Even though the characters are too broad, and the disruptive romance that blossoms between Paige and the most basic boy alive (a goateed Adam Brody, Meester’s actual life partner) is only believable for its complacency, Susanna Fogel’s performance-oriented direction still manages to coax endearingly honest turns from the two women.
The true secret of the film’s success, however, is that the script by Fogel and Joni Lefkowitz has too much integrity to reduce the sexuality of its protagonists to a plot device, no matter how dramatically convenient. Paige and Sasha may be familiar archetypes, but Life Partners respects them all the same, freeing the film to become an amusingly tender story about how relationships need to grow, along with the people who share them.
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