I don’t buy into the philosophy that only women should make movies about women or women’s issues, or that only members of a given minority group should be allowed to make movies about that same minority group. In fact, I think that philosophy is harmful and degrades our film culture and is destructive to art in general. And yet. The Layover was written by two dudes, and directed by a dude. And it is about Kate Upton and Alexandra Daddario being super-duper horny and also they are in bathing suits a lot and also look at their boobs please. I struggle to understand how this movie came into being, how anyone involved thought that making it was a good idea. Least of all esteemed character actor (and The Layover director) William H. Macy, obviously, but Christ, even Upton and Daddario should have known better than this.
William H. Macy is the star of such films as Fargo, Boogie Nights, and Magnolia. He is known for his collaborations with some of the most inspired auteur filmmakers Hollywood has ever known, including the Coen Brothers and Paul Thomas Anderson. He has two Emmy Awards, three SAG awards, and an Oscar nomination under his belt.
William H. Macy directed The Layover. Just, let’s let that sink in for a moment.
Here are some excerpts from the notes I took on this movie: “repulsive … awful garbage… this movie wow… they freaking hate each other… confounding… ‘scrotum head’… UNWATCHABLE… this movie is garbage… bad movie… what is this movie… deadly deadly deadly… William H. Macy starred in Fargo… what the fuck is this movie.”
The Layover is about Kate Upton (who, just so you know, is an attractive woman) and Alexandra Daddario (who, and this is important to note, is also an attractive woman) fighting each other for the affection of the most boring man to ever have lived. The Layover features the line “you buy socks and I suck—” and suffers also from “Meg Ryan is a helicopter pilot” syndrome (in that Alexandra Daddario’s character is a high school English teacher) (and also in trying to make us all believe that Kate Upton and Alexandra Daddario are actors). The Layover also wants you to know (in case this hasn’t already been made clear by — sometimes — better movies) that women can be just as gross as men.
By the way, and this is fun: the dude they fight over for the entirety of the movie looks like if William H. Macy were young and hot.
Macy recently gave Variety an interview in which he was asked about the importance of female-led films in Hollywood. He replied, “Is it important? Yeah, but it’s not a good reason to do a movie. The only good reason to do a movie is because it’s a great story that needs to be told,” he said (emphasis mine). This confounds me. Never has a movie set out to tell a less-great story than The Layover. In what world is “Kate Upton and Alexandra Daddario fight over a bland dude who looks kind of like William H. Macy” a great story that needs to be told?
When asked how she got the job, Daddario told Collider that “I had a Skype meeting with Bill, and it’s the only time, ever in my career, that I’ve been offered a job on the spot. The Skype wasn’t working and he said, ‘I’ll just call you.’ He called and we talked on the phone and, within 10 minutes, he was like, ‘Can you get on a plane tomorrow?’ It’s incredible to work with a director like that. He’s been in this business for so long that I think the fear doesn’t exist,” which, mindblowing. Remember, this is the guy who said that the “only good reason to do a movie is because it’s a great story that needs to be told,” the guy who has given some of cinema’s all-time great performances, the guy who has led prestige acting workshops for decades now. And he casts the lead of his throwaway nothing of a movie in a ten-minute phone call. The lack of care on display here betrays some wild level of arrogance and/or stupidity.
The acting is horrendous, the message repugnant, the humor repellant, the direction nonexistent, the story ugly, the characters archetypical to the umpteenth degree, and also Alexandra Daddario plays a high school teacher.
One of the best movies of the year is a movie about two women who hate each other and occasionally get into physical brawls with one another. Incidentally, the movie in question was also directed by a man. The man is Onur Tukel, the women Anne Heche and Sandra Oh, and the film Catfight. It is brilliant and it is currently streaming on Netflix. Do the world a favor and watch Catfight instead of The Layover.