A Stellar Cast Keeps Things Interesting In The Overnight.
Director: Patrick Brice.
Writer: Patrick Brice.
Cast: Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godreche.
Playing At: The Magnolia, Angelika Plano.
An important note: Even if your parents are fans of Parks and Recreation, even if they adore Orange is the New Black, do not — I repeat, do not — under any circumstances, watch The Overnight with them.
Honestly, you may want to be careful with whom you watch this film at all. For both the characters and the audience, watching this film an exercise in finding out just how comfortable you are both with your friends and in your own skin.
Here, Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling play Alex and Emily, a couple that's just moved from Seattle to L.A. with their young son. Desperate to make some connections in a city neither is familiar with, the two eagerly accept a dinner invitation from another couple, Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) and Charlotte (Judith Godreche).
Dinner, featuring homemade pizza and plenty of wine, is pleasant enough. But after the kids go to bed, the night gets progressively weirder. Boundaries get subtly, then aggressively, challenged. Every innocent question — “Would you like to see my wife's movie?” or “Would you like to take a swim?” — takes the situation well past the realm of what most would deem acceptable.
This is a good thing. What makes The Overnight work well is how bold it is. While most of these situations are played for laughs, the film's got plenty to say overall about the societal norms that force us to be polite in front of company, no matter what we may be feeling. There's a real high-wire act that both Scott and Schilling are doing here as their characters have to each hide their initial horrors while also reckoning with how the evening's events actually do cause them to loosen up some.
Both Scott and Schilling are pitch perfect in these roles, stereotypical as the straight man and the “I can be fun!” wife tropes can be. Schwartzman, too, is great as the enigmatic, somewhat annoying, but undeniably interesting Kurt. Godreche is the weak link; she's fine, I suppose, but someone like Rose Byrne could have really sold the material and taken this film to the next level.
As is, though, The Overnight works plenty well. It doesn't quite go where you expect it to, but it deserves plenty of kudos for going farther than most American comedies would dare. Plenty of raunchy flicks have shown dicks before, but this one's actually got some balls.