"Life Partners," an astute and funny look at love and courtship in Los Angeles, is the first feature-length film by director Susanna Fogel. She and her writing partner, Joni Lefkowitz, have crafted an ensemble piece with an eminently likeable cast: Sasha (Leighton Meester, "Gossip Girl") is a lesbian slacker, and Paige (Gillian Jacobs, "Community") is a type-A straight woman. The two are slightly codependent best friends who, as their 29th birthdays approach, decide that instead of spending the rest of their lives watching "America's Next Top Model" together on the couch, they need to brave the world of online dating. But while Sasha finds only an unhinged semi-stalker (Kate McKinnon, "Saturday Night Live"), Paige finds her adorably nerdy Mr. Right (Adam Brody, "Gilmore Girls"). Of course, jealousy rears its ugly head. Complicating matters is the fact that Paige has vowed not to marry until Sasha also has that legal right. In the run-up to a major vote on marriage equality, they struggle with issues of love and loyalty.
Fogel and Lefkowitz (who have worked together on numerous projects, including the Web series "Joni and Susanna") are incisive filmmakers. With a stellar supporting cast including Gabourey Sidibe, Abby Elliott and Julie White, "Life Partners" will not only make audiences laugh; it will strike a chord of familiarity for anyone — gay, straight or somewhere in between — who has tried to chart a course through the rough seas of modern romance.
Premieres July 10 at the Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway. Tickets available at www.outfest.org/fest2014.
-Charles Purdy, Brand Publishing Writer