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Susanna Fogel
Gillian Jacobs, Leighton Meester, Adam Brody, Gabourey Sidibe, Beth Dover, Abby Elliott
Writing Credits:
Susanna Fogel, Joni Lefkowitz

Sasha and Paige's co-dependent friendship is tested as Paige gets serious with a guy for the first time.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 3/3/2015

• “Behind the Scenes” Featurettes
• “AXS TV: A Look at Life Partners” Featurette
• Previews and Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Life Partners [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 8, 2015)

For a love triangle with a twist, we go to 2014’s Life Partners. The film introduces us to longtime pals Sasha (Leighton Meester) and Paige (Gillian Jacobs). Sasha is gay and Paige is straight, but this doesn’t matter, as their platonic friendship offers their longest-lasting relationship.

Matters change when Paige meets Tim (Adam Brody) and falls in love. This inevitably threatens Sasha and causes potential rifts in the longtime friendship. We follow the various interactions and see how they impact the buddies.

As a straight guy with a lifelong gay best friend, Partners offered a story of particular interest to me. At least, it had potential in that regard, as it seemed like it might give us a different take on the basic narrative in which one friend feels left behind when the other gets into a relationship.

Instead, the lesbian side of Partners doesn’t really matter. Oh, those elements factor into the plot in terms of settings – like bars or parties – but they don’t make a difference in the story, really. Sasha could be straight and the movie wouldn’t evolve in a different manner, so the choice to make her a lesbian feels gratuitous.

I do appreciate that Partners never attempts to make Sasha and Paige a couple, though. When Sasha becomes frustrated over the way the friendship changes, we don’t find the almost inevitable scene in which she declares her romantic love for Paige. It would’ve been easy for Partners to shoehorn that angle into the tale but it avoids it, which I like.

Despite those positives, Partners comes with some problems that sabotage it in the end. In particular, it makes Sasha and Paige fairly unlikable. I don’t think it intends to do so, but it does, as they come across as relentlessly self-absorbed and smug.

Granted, I understand that the narrative needs some of this to depict their growth/evolution. After all, Partners wants to be about growing up and becoming “adult” to some degree, so it needs to give Sasha and Paige flaws to “fix”.

Unfortunately, it makes these defects so substantial that we find it tough to care about them. Sasha just seems lazy and shiftless, while Paige is a narcissist who lies rather than ever admit mistakes.

This comes out most egregiously in a running thread about a car accident. Paige texts as she backs her Prius out of her driveway, and this leads her to hit her neighbor’s vehicle. She blames him for a bad parking job and refuses to admit fault.

Again, the movie uses this plot point to eventually depict Paige’s growth, but by the time she changes, it’s too late. We’re so tired of her shenanigans that we’ve passed the point of no return. The movie’s best scene occurs when Tim finally tells off the manipulative, lying priss.

Partners does capture some elements well, such as the awkwardness when one friend introduces a significant other to another friend, and the actors do reasonably well in their problematic parts. The film simply feels too contrived and cobbled together to succeed, though. It feels more like a compilation of character notes than a coherent narrative.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D

Life Partners appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a satisfying image.

From start to finish, sharpness looked good. Only the slightest hint of softness affected wide shots, and those examples occurred too infrequently to cause problems. Instead, the film looked concise and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws.

In terms of colors, the movie featured a palette that favored a slight golden tone or some teal. Across the board, the hues looked fine within those parameters. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. I thought the movie consistently looked positive.

I thought that the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Partners seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most comedies, the movie featured a limited soundfield that strongly favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.

Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. A few scenes opened up better, though, like at a club; that sequence boasted lively music. However, most of the movie stayed with limited imaging.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B-“ but didn’t particularly impress.

Under Behind the Scenes, we find two featurettes: “Cast & Characters” (2:30) and “Production & Costume Design” (4:46). Over these, we hear from production designer Matt Luem, costume designer Courtney Hoffman, and actors Leighton Meester, Gillian Jacobs, Gabourey Sidibe, Adam Brody and Abby Elliott. The clips cover the subjects described in their titles. With so little time at their disposal, they don’t tell us much, though “Design” offers a few decent details.

AXS TV: A Look at Life Partners runs two minutes, 32 seconds and features Jacobs, Meester, and Brody. It’s essentially an advertisement, so don’t expect any movie-making info.

The disc opens with ads for Serena, The Two Faces of January, White Bird in a Blizzard and Pioneer. We also find the trailer for Partners.

With a pretty good cast and a decent premise, Life Partners boasts the basics to become an entertaining character piece. Unfortunately, it makes too many bad choices to turn into anything more than a sporadic pleasure. The Blu-ray brings us positive picture and acceptable audio but lacks substantial supplements. While not without entertainment value, Partners falters too much of the time.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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