I get that doing fun films could be enticing for predominately serious actors/actresses, but I only wish that they’d choose better films. It’s not that they’re bad in the film, it’s just that the film isn’t all that great. More often than not, the film is a romantic-comedy that is almost always “just okay”. The Love Actually‘s are hard to find and we’re often stuck with early McConaughey/Hudson work that’s frustrating to watch, because those two are good actors that have done far better work. So, my point is, if you want to make a movie like this, just look for something more.
Megan (Analeigh Tipton) is a recently single twenty-something and the wheels have started coming off. She’s living in New York City, she’s single, and she’s more importantly without a job. She’s currently living with her best-friend, Faiza (Jessica Szhor) and is now lacking motivation. While her friend is away, Megan reluctantly creates an account on an online dating site and begins to search for a one night stand, something she’s unfamiliar with. After sifting through some undesirables and creeps, Megan stumbles upon a charming man named Alec (Miles Teller). After a night of awkward first-encounter sex, things go south the next morning and tensions escalate before an anti-climactic departure.
It turns out, the biggest snow storm in history hit New York that night and now Megan and Alec are awkwardly stranded together. After getting past the pleasantries, the two start to try things again, this time taking in mind each other’s criticisms. Each offers up sexual advice to the other, in the scientific pursuit of making them better in the area of sex. During this process, the two end up getting fairly close, until something goes awry and their new-found relationship is put to the test. Can they manage to salvage whatever bond they had?
Two Night Stand is something of a standard romantic comedy in its tropes, but it does have its memorable moments thanks to its leads. Director Max Nichols inspiration isn’t hard to find, as this film does lots of borrowing and re-touching with his writer, Mark Hammer. It’s fairly obvious that this is each of their first projects, but they do luck out with having some great star power under their belts. There’s a ton of raunchy comedy to accompany this film which works quite well, if you don’t mind that sort of thing. If anything, this first project is a mediocre effort that works because of everyone else involved.
Miles Teller brings his natural charisma and youthful humor to this film and it greatly benefits from that. Having interview him once before, he’s exactly the type of witty person you’d expect and his sometimes subtle humor is far superior to his more vulgar jokes. He’s an instantly likable guy and you can’t help but chuckle at most of what he says. When he needs to be, Teller busts out his dramatic and more emotional chops and completely freezes time as he commands your attention. His character is one who’s flawed, but Teller does some really great work to conceal that and focus on putting up boundaries to keep him from being vulnerable. There’s really nothing this guy can’t and won’t do and I’m really happy to see him consistently doing well, even if the film he’s in isn’t all that great.
Analeigh Tipton caught my attention with her repressed performance in Crazy, Stupid, Love and I was wondering where on Earth she went after that film. Well, now that she’s back, I’m happy to say that she’s doing even better work. Here, she gets to play a the type of damaged character that we’ve seen before, but she’s far smarter than most. She has an air of shyness around her, but once you get past the surface you get to see how much fun she can be. Tipton has an awkward chemistry with all of her co-stars and it somehow only makes her more enjoyable to watch. Together, she and Teller make a hilarious couple (of sorts) that trade-off insults and compliments and they really make things convincing.
For as fun and as enjoyable as its leads are, this story has been done a thousand times before and everything feels all too familiar. The twist of having a one night stand extended is fun, but the way it’s handled is so typical and everything plays out exactly as you’d expect. First, the characters are awkward together and resent one another. Then, they get past their issues and all is well. Until, things go badly and someone has to make amends. I, and you, have seen this story dozens of times and it really does get tiresome after a while. This film brings absolutely nothing new to the romantic comedy genre and it just feels like a project that was thrown together at the last-minute.
At under an hour-and-a-half, Two Night Stand feels a bit longer than it should, considering not much happens. There’s a lot of focus on a sub-plot involving a felony and it is so ridiculous that it could only exist in some cheap Rom-Com. The circumstances regarding the couple’s trapped nature in the apartment is incredibly forced and then when the film unveils its other two characters, they’re treated poorly and don’t get nearly enough time on the screen. Scott Mescudi is making the transition from rapper to actor and he’s really not bad, but it sucks when he’s only in the film to serve as exactly what Tipton’s character wants. Mescudi and Szhor are hilarious and could potentially have a lot to offer, but they’re benched for the majority of the film, until they’re needed in the cliche ending.
Two Night Stand is just okay for what it is. It helps that the lead characters are incredibly entertaining to watch, but they can’t save this film from trying to be everything that it’s not. When you treat your material like it’s a joke, that’s how it’s going to be perceived by the audience. It doesn’t help that we don’t get to spend more time with some of the more interesting characters and that this film feels much longer than it should. I did laugh quite a bit, but I also spent much of my time rolling my eyes because I knew exactly how everything would play out, just like anyone else would. It was good to see Tipton and Teller, I’d just rather see them doing something of greater merit.
Two Night Stand Trailer