The director gave each of the writers—mainly friends of his from Columbia Film School in New York—a set of criteria and told them to write a story. During the Q&A after the film, the writers couldn’t seem to agree on exactly what those criteria were, but they involved a relationship, a character arc, possibly a fight, possibly sex, and all of the characters needed to end up at a party together. The writers took their scripts in a variety of different directions, giving us a myriad of stories and characters.
The framework involves Christoph, a young lawyer whose fiancé Liv is throwing him a surprise party for his birthday. In addition, we have Liv’s best friend Nate, who dates casually and claims he doesn’t want to settle down, but is actually in love with Liv. There’s Liv’s brother, who’s convinced that his wife is cheating on him, to the point where he cancels a business trip to spend the day spying on her, bringing along his stoner assistant Chernus, and Cheruns’ girlfriend. There’s the law school dropout who’s obsessed with time travel, and whom everyone writes off as a slacker and a screwup, but who may just have found a girl who understands him. There’s the couple who just found out that they’re pregnant—but who may not be on the same page in their relationship. There’s Christoph’s ex, who can’t believe he’s engaged to someone else and really wants to punch him in the face. And, finally, there’s Cody. Cody sort of defies description.
None of the characters is likeable all the time, and they don’t always make the right decisions. But, none of them is entirely unlikeable either, and sometimes they DO make the right decisions, often when you least expect it. In short, they’re human. Not all of the stories end happily, or even get entirely resolved. It’s not all tied up neatly with a bow at the end. But, everyone learns, grows, and changes as they each muddle through their individual situations as best they can. In short . . . it’s like life.
Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, often identifiable, Mutual Friends provides a range of experiences and a range of different emotions, all rolled up into a single film. The emotions aren’t always pleasant, and the experiences aren’t always the ones you’re hoping for, but in the end, it’s an interesting and worthwhile movie.