I’ve seen a lot of comedies that take place during a suburban house party, but I’m pretty sure The Overnight is the first one that features its two male stars doing full-frontal nudity at once. This low-budget independent comedy opens in Dallas on Friday and at AMC Grapevine Mills next week, and in addition to some very uncomfortable laughs, it will probably give you more penises than the Magic Mike sequel. Take that as a warning or an advertisement. It’s your call.
The story unfolds over one day, as Alex and Emily (Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling) fret about making new friends, having just moved to L.A. from Seattle. When their young son strikes up a friendship with a similarly aged boy in the park, the couple meets the other boy’s dad Kurt (Jason Schwartzman), who promptly invites them all over to his home that evening to meet his French wife Charlotte (Judith Godrèche) and share their weekly pizza night. When the evening starts, Alex and Emily wonder how a guy who sells water filters in the Third World can afford such a huge house, but that’s just the start of the weirdness in store for them.
Writer-director Patrick Brice has made only one other film, a horror movie called Creep. He does a fair job of building momentum in the first half as the layers of Kurt and Charlotte’s freakiness are gradually revealed. This allows Scott and Schilling to do some nice appalled reactions to what they’re witnessing — when Kurt shows Alex his garage filled with large-scale close-up paintings he executed of other people’s anuses, Alex mumbles, “I always wanted to paint.” The aforementioned nude scene comes up early on, when Kurt and Charlotte go skinny-dipping after having sent the boys to bed and Alex gets intimidated by the sight of the hugely endowed Kurt. (If you’re wondering, and you will wonder, Schwartzman is wearing a prosthetic.)
What Brice does less well is pacing himself with the insanity. When Emily utters the word “swingers” at the 50-minute mark of this 78-minute film, there’s nowhere left for the filmmaker to go. It’s nice that Brice wants to depict Kurt and Charlotte as simply another married couple going through relationship troubles rather than a pair of sexual deviants, but he doesn’t have enough insight into either their neuroses or Alex and Emily’s marital issues, which are brought to the surface when the other couple tries to seduce them. All in all, Lynn Shelton’s 2011 comedy Humpday did a much better job of connecting emotionally with a similar story and similar themes.
Even so, The Overnight generates enough laughs to justify seeing it in theaters or at home. Just don’t watch it with another couple, unless you secretly want a foursome with them.
Starring Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, and Judith Godrèche. Written and directed by Patrick Brice. Rated R.[/box_info]