Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) have hit a bit of a rough patch. They’ve recently made the move to Los Angeles with their son RJ and are having a difficult time acquainting themselves-Alex in particular. That is, until Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) runs into them and invites them to his place that night for dinner with him and his wife Charlotte (Judith Godreche). What begins innocently begins to unravel as the night moves forward into a more sexually charged meet up between two sets of couples who have their own secrets, insecurities, and wants.
The Overnight has excellent pacing, bringing us through the night at the same speed that our main couple view it as. It moves like a play. From their tentative first steps through the extravagant gate that guards Kurt and Charlotte’s house to their growing friendship with the pair the camera never lags or rushes ahead, allowing the actors to truly steer the story forward.
This is for the best considering it’s the actors and scripts that instill any life into the film. Patrick Brice has an excellent, quick witted, and biting script on his hands but his directing style takes the point of view of a bystander more than a participant storyteller.
The first scene sums up the film in blunt sequence. Alex and Emily having sex and both being at a total disconnect with the other despite the love they share. Sex should be easier than love right? What The Overnight smartly does is craft a story that is hilarious by nature but also demonstrates how sex and love is often interwoven and how so much of our psyche and self-confidence is built around it.
Comedy, though, is the main goal of the film though and it succeeds in its broad strokes and it’s more subtler moments. The film isn’t afraid to be a little raunchy-to put it lightly-and it makes sure to get as many full frontal nude shots as it can. Brice’s filmmaking is stiled, typically allowing what’s taking place in the scene take the weight of the story rather than using his camera as anything more than a stage. The actors are fully committed, collectively bringing charm, hilarity, and heart to a smart script. We’ve gotten the bare bones of the storyline within the first ten minutes and from there on out, the actors fill the narrative out. Schwartzman plays charismatic smugness in the only way he can, making us believe in everything his character is saying even when it verges on ludicrous. Scott plays second fiddle to Schwartman’s show boat character but plays being uncomfortable in his own skin to a t. Schilling is hilarious and plays with her deadpan sarcasm that we’ve seen glimpses of in Orange is the New Black but it’s Godreche that may be the revelation of the film. She puts off the air of confidence while playing moments of subtlety with grace, hinting at what lies beneath the role she’s playing.
The film, though, is a collective success with the four actors sharing palpable chemistry with each character playing a role. As the night wears on the films loosens it’s confines with the narrative becoming more and more outrageous.
Beneath all of the jokes and physical humor, is a sweeter, more genuine story about four adults forming a connection. It’s not a long film but in the short amount of time that they have they utilize every moment of it making sure that we believe that these four people would gravitate towards one another. There’s a scene between Schwartzman and Scott that takes insecurities to task that results in a playful scenes that’s using a heightened sight gag but ends up being surprisingly touching. The same could be said for any scene between Schilling and Godreche.
It’s a hilarious film that kept surprising me with the situations the characters found themselves in.
It’s a sex-comedy with heart.
The Overnight will be released June 19th, 2015.