A ménage à trois of friendship, sex, and humor, Friends Effing Friends Effing Friends grabs the audience immediately with an opening scene about two friends arguing over penis envy. It’s a story about a circle of friends and sex which is always an interesting precursor to mountains of fun conflict.
Jacob (Tyler Dawson) is a struggling copywriter in Los Angeles who meets with Sarah (Christina Gooding) to discuss editing a biography on Sarah’s father. The two hit it off almost immediately, but things easily get complicated when Jacob’s friend Steve (Graham Skipper) breaks it off with his significant other, Laura (Jillian Leigh). Lies, withholding the truth, and unnaturally high sex drives fuel the conflict. It’s a party of five sexfest with everyone sleeping with everyone else.
What’s natural about the comedy is director Quincy Rose’s approach to keeping things simple. Few scenes really bring the audience out of the “normal” world—save for the “furry” sex scene and the closing scene—keeping true to some possible reality that focuses on negative aspects of mixing friendship with sex. It’s a strong principle that shows in other aspects of the movie—a creative decision was to keep the movie mostly shot with a 28mm lens, the “eye’s perspective” lens. It’s almost a necessity since the script is simply dialogue-driven.
Irrational thinking runs heavy-handed through these characters—Steve doesn’t recognize repercussions with sleeping around, which is what brings Laura to suspect him. His multiple-partner scenario sets the stage for the denouement of relationships at the movie’s end. It’s not just Steve that’s the one to blame, however—Jacob’s own lustful desires prompt him to sleep with Camille (Vanessa Dubasso), nearly mirroring Steve’s own problem of not being able to keep it in his pants. An equally interesting duo, Sarah and Laura have a lovely one-night encounter with Jacob, but decide to never speak about it again. Sarah is a little more level-headed in the group of friends, keeping a rational stance, against Laura’s irrationality—she jumps at even the slightest hint of infidelity. It’s a good thing, though, since Steve cheats on her continuously, although Laura’s accusatory nature serves as a stronger complication near the end of the movie.
This web of complication gets thicker with Laura “going solo” with Jacob. It’s clear nobody here is the “hero” of relationships, although we tend to gravitate towards Jacob and Sarah’s relationship, probably because they’re the more rational couple. However, it’s this constant irrationality complex that leads to Jacob losing Sarah in the end and—against all odds—Laura and Steve getting back together. It’s as if in this brief time rational thought about the repercussions of constant sex goes out the window and the characters chase their desires.
Rose’s goal of writing the characters so they aren’t “despicable people” is achieved. They’re emotional and jealous to a degree, but there’s still something cute about how the chemistry between the five of them operates. Rose incorporated a lot of his previous relationship mishaps into an entertaining flick that, amongst high drama, doesn’t disappoint. It shows our struggle to get what we want out of life without destroying our relationships, but the reality of it is that sometimes that isn’t possible. Friends Effing Friends Effing Friends won Best Feature Romantic Drama at the Manhattan Film Festival in 2016.