By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
Marriage has to be the relationship that faces the most challenges and complications to maintaining the happiness/content of those involved. With love, romance, sex, chemistry, ambitions, desires, career, etc. providing plenty of obstacles and diversions, married couples have plenty of work ahead of them. Throw children in the mix and things get even more complex. Obviously, there is not one set perfect formula to a perfect marriage, but people have different strategies for maintaining marital bliss. Sometimes these ideas come from thinking way outside the traditional box. Written and directed by Patrick Brice, The Overnight takes a comedic look at two very different married couples and how one eventful night impacts their relationships. The result is an often hilarious and sometimes bizarre film that features extraordinary performances by its leads Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, and Judith Godreche.
Emily (Schilling), Alex (Scott), and son RJ (R.J. Hermes) have not been in Los Angeles very long and are barely adjusting to their new home. Feeling the need for new adult friends, Alex and Emily reluctantly accept an invitation to a dinner from Kurt (Schwartzman), a quirky, but charming young father they meet while playing in the park with RJ. Because Kurt’s son Max and RJ instantly hit it off, Emily and Alex consider the invite as a fine opportunity to meet new grownup friends, and for RJ and Max to have a playdate. While Max and RJ have a great time, their parents share what starts out to be a delightful evening that eventually grows awkward and bizarre.
Produced by the Duplass Brothers, The Overnight fits in perfectly with just about every work the talented duo has produced, written and directed. This uproarious, wild and risque comedy wonderfully utilizes the comic and improvisational talents of Scott, Schilling, Schwartzman, and Godreche. Brice keeps his film simple and mostly focused on his main characters and this minimal approach works perfectly as the actors take the scenarios and make everything flow naturally and realistically. Brice’s movie could make for an awesome stage play as it is mostly dialogue. The humor and jokes are ingenious and often had me laughing to the point of tears. The chemistry shared by the actors and their exceptional comic timing make for an outstanding exercise in uncomfortable and off-the-wall comedy. The movie has a couple of slightly over-the-top moments, included simply for shock value, but most of the scenes feel genuine, and superbly reflect real life situations.
Because of the bawdy nature of the content, this movie will definitely turn off more conservative and reserved audiences. Of course, it should already go without saying that the movie is in no way intended for children. The wild direction taken by the story makes for some hilarious cinema, but will not appeal to everyone’s tastes. Thankfully, the film is not all all shock and awe, but does provide some intelligent insight into the things people do to keep the marriage pulse pounding. Brice and his actors don’t attempt or pretend to offer real solutions for marital woes, but simply reflect on what can and often does happen, especially in contemporary marriages. As with the comedy in the film, these methods are not for everyone.