Review: Lightweight ‘Life Partners’ depicts ups and downs of BFFs

Leighton Meester and Gillian Jacobs in "Life Partners."
(Magnolia Pictures)

Loosely inspired by the real-life friendship of writer-director Susanna Fogel and writer-producer Joni Lefkowitz, “Life Partners” depicts the ups and downs of the best friendship between Sasha (Leighton Meester) and Paige (Gillian Jacobs).

When Paige falls in love and settles down with Tim (Adam Brody), their friendship goes through growing pains. Sasha feels like her BFF has replaced her, and Paige grows impatient with Sasha’s taste for dating women in varying stages of arrested development. “Life Partners” depicts a realistic female friendship between characters transitioning to adult life, with silly rituals and comforts for birthdays, breakups and the painful heartbreak that comes from a rift in such a close relationship.

Meester and Jacobs have an easy, authentic chemistry, but there isn’t enough structure or storytelling thrust to sustain interest in the plot: Triumphs, calamities and reunions keep happening, but none contains real dramatic heft. The result feels like a series of vignettes instead of a story with momentum.

Kate McKinnon, Gabourey Sidibe and Abby Elliott appear in charming but undeveloped supporting roles. Although the central friendship of the film rings true, there is a lack of history in the relationship, and a sense of time and place is absent. “Life Partners,” while sweet, is slight.



“Life Partners”

MPAA rating: R for language, sexual content.

Running time: 1 hour, 35 minutes.


Playing: Sundance Sunset, Los Angeles.