Alex and Emily (Adam Scott & Taylor Schilling) have just moved from Seattle to Los Angeles with their young son. The couple’s sex life is less than stellar, with both finding the whole process difficult because they’re insecure about themselves. On top of that, they’re really worried about making adult friends in a whole new environment. When they take their son to a park he begins playing with another boy and his father, Kurt (Jason Schwartzman), is ecstatic that there are new parents. When they’re invited over to meet his wife Charlotte (Judith Godreche) and have dinner, things take a precarious turn when the night becomes increasingly sexual.
The Overnight is an uncompromising look into the lives of couple’s who have lost their spark and are unsure of how to deal with it. More than that, the film delves into the inner-workings of a relationship and what each individual person brings into it. The lack of communication can kill a relationship in a short amount of time because being honest with yourself and your partner is essential to understanding what each person wants. Cleverly, this film goes about solving these marital woes with outrageous comedy, compromised of four hilarious performances.
Adam Scott of Parks & Rec often finds himself playing the nice guy with a good sense of humor. He’s instantly likable and his ability to play off of his surroundings is next-to-none. Here, he plays more of the same on the surface, but inside he’s overflowing with emotion he doesn’t know how to control. He has performance issues, but only because he’s so insecure about his body. Taylor Schilling, whom many have seen recently in the third season of Orange Is The New Black, is far more reluctant to try anything new. She’s hesitant as the night goes forward, especially as Scott gets more unwound. The reactions they both share and the comments they make through the night are equally as funny as the physical humor they exude, almost making them the epitome of boring suburban parents (which in this context is a great thing).
On the other end of the spectrum is Schwartzman, a man known for his incredibly quirky characters (most of whom lack ambition and any real emotion). Here, he’s also a quirky character whose lifestyle is lavish and lush, but is missing something essential. He seems empty, but he’s surrounded by a beautiful wife and child AND he is a budding photographer and painter. Charlotte is perhaps the most curious, as Godreche channels lots of teasing through her eyes and actions. She’s less vocal about her desires, but what she initiates with her physicality is less than subtle. As a couple, it’s clear that they’re not gelling in some way, which only becomes more evident as the night goes on.
Writer/Director Patrick Brice holds nothing back in this film, inserting jokes and scenarios of all sorts which you should never view with your parents (fortunately I escaped that one). Brice debuted his film at Sundance and many called it “the best sex comedy out of Sundance”. Having never been, I’m sure that’s just some exaggerated pull-quote, but it’s not totally wrong. For as comedic as this film is, there’s also a huge dramatic focus that breathes between each laugh and uncomfortable silence. Brice explores these four characters and what makes them the way they are, allowing for us to see the lengths they’ll go to in order to find some semblance of purpose. His dialogue and commentary is enough to send you into a laughing fit and then he hits you over the head with vulnerability and you become deeply invested in these character’s well beings.
Perhaps the most shocking realization about this film (aside from some 3rd act shenanigans which will leave you in disbelief) is the fact that it’s only 79 minutes long. At that length, I was more that satisfied with the progression of the story. Some films that fall under the 90-minute mark either rush their film, or they wait until the end to try and cram everything in to the final minutes. Brice keeps him film short and sweet, as it never overstays its welcome and never feels like you needed more from the characters. The ending is possibly one of the funniest, most uncomfortable I’ve ever seen, but it elicits all the right reactions.
The Overnight is a film which chooses to approach sex and sexuality in a truly original fashion. The best part about this film is that it’s not teenagers exploring their bodies and emotions for the first time. These are two groups of parents who are still unsure of what they feel and how they should vocalize what they’re feeling. It’s a very raw, honest look at the uncomfortable nature of admitting what you like and want, especially in a society which still views sex (and all other aspects of it) as a taboo. If you’re honest and open with yourself, this film is going to be a wonderful, albeit odd time at the movies!
The Overnight Trailer