Bert and Arnie’s Guide to Friendship is a story of two men who were complete strangers but who share a common denominator—one man’s wife was sleeping with the other man. After many lies and the truth finally unfolding, Bert discovers that his wife, Linda, is having an affair with Arnie. Arnie probably doesn’t realize that he is having an affair with Bert’s wife, because he is the ultimate womanizer and probably can’t keep the women’s names straight. Linda tells Bert that Arnie is her cooking teacher. One day, Bert calls Linda’s hand and asks her to cook some elaborate meal. Unable to find a chopping knife, Bert goes to Arnie’s house to probably confront him about Linda’s infidelity. What transpires, however, is a chance meeting between Bert and Arnie, where Arnie discovers that Bert is an aspiring author whom he has been reading.
But the two have another common denominator—Arnie’s new boss, Sabrina. She meets Bert, and she is enamored with him. But she and Bert are only friends. However, Arnie and Bert aren’t friends at all, but Arnie is beside himself trying to figure out why Sabrina would even be interested in Bert.
Arnie is outgoing and flirtatious, while Bert is kind of repressed after having been in a marriage that he didn’t know wasn’t going anywhere. He is new at the dating game, and he is also a professor whose student Faye is coming on to him. He must figure things out rapidly, while Arnie believes that he already has things in the bag. Arnie is such an over-the-top womanizer that he receives threatening phone calls from women’s husbands.
This film is full of romantic misadventures involving two men and the women in their lives. Bert and Arnie give narratives where they try to explain why they could or could not be friends.
Bert and Arnie’s Guide to Friendship stars Matt Oberg as Bert, Stephen Schneider as Arnie, and Anna Chlumsky as Sabrina. Bert and Arnie’s Guide to Friendship, the new comedy from director Jeff Kaplan, wouldn’t be considered a buddy film. To me, it’s just a film that attempts to explore infidelity at its best—for lack of a better description—when the two men involved actually know each other. They have such disparate personalities that they could, very well, learn from one another. But this relationship never really pans out.
The character that wins the show for me is Faye, played by Cristin Milioti, who delivers what leans more toward an androgynous performance, who has this nasal voice, and is bent on having some kind of sex with Bert, in order to get a prized internship with a literary critic who has blasted Bert’s last two books.
Bert and Arnie’s Guide to Friendship is available on DVD June 18 and is playing in limited release at New York’s Brooklyn’s Indiescreen June 21-27. Visit www.bertandarniemovie.com