The Overnight (2015)
The Overnight (2015)
Director: Patrick Brice
Cast: Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman
Synopsis: Alex, Emily, and their son, RJ, are new to Los Angeles. A chance meeting at the park introduces them to the mysterious Kurt, Charlotte, and Max. A family “playdate” becomes increasingly interesting as the night goes on.
Not all fantasy movies are set in mythical kingdoms in which dragons and ogres roam. Sometimes they’re set in a world deceptively similar to our own, a world in which self-absorbed half-wits drone on endlessly about themselves, and impart words of faux-wisdom in tones of mild wonder. These dull wretches talk the kind of self-indulgent drivel that can only originate in the mind of a screenwriter who is completely divorced from what is relevant to ordinary people. While it’s likely that one of the two couples with whom we’re forced to spend a weird and ultimately dreary evening are written as broad caricatures, they should still be rooted in some recognisable form of human life, but Jason Schwartzman (Moonrise Kingdom, Saving Mr. Banks) and Judith Godreche’s Kurt and Charlotte come across at best as relics from the sixties sexual counter-culture rather than descendants.
They lead a privileged lifestyle in a California mansion which immediately awes Alex Scott (Piranha, A.C.O.D.) and Taylor Schilling’s more traditional Alex and Emily, newly-moved to the West Coast and in need of friends to distract them from the unspoken sexual problems which overshadow their otherwise healthy marriage. Initially, Kurt and Charlotte appear to enjoy both an enviable lifestyle and the kind of sexual compatibility that eludes Alex and Emily, but as the night wears on, and booze and drugs loosen inhibitions, the flaws in their relationship – and their ulterior motive for inviting the other couple – become increasingly apparent.
There’s a self-satisfaction about The Overnight which is both grating and misplaced. It’s message – that only by confronting and coming to terms with those aspects of our sexuality with which we are least comfortable can we truly learn about ourselves – might have some merit, but loses potency when couched in pseudo-intellectual clap-trap and fake sophistication, and relayed in a manner that bores and frustrates in equal measure.
(Reviewed 11th December 2015)