If there’s any message or insight to be gained from “The Overnight,” anything that the characters learned about themselves or that might lead us to our own personal epiphanies, I failed to grasp it. This is not necessarily a criticism, merely an observation. Even as sex comedies go, this one is slight, an 80-minute, four-character lark about a normal married couple who meet an eccentric married couple and are unsettled by their eccentricity. That’s basically it.
But it’s funny, so that helps. Funny helps everything. Stay-at-home dad Alex (Adam Scott) and working mom Emily (Taylor Schilling) have just moved to L.A., and Alex is anxious about how he’ll make new friends without a job to go to. As luck and screenplay contrivance would have it, Alex and Emily meet someone in the park that very day, a jokey fellow named Kurt (Jason Schwartzman), whose little boy plays well with theirs. Kurt invites the family to dinner at the sleek, giant home he shares with his son and wife, Charlotte (Judith Godreche), who’s French and glamorous. After dinner, they put the kids to bed, whereupon ensues hilarity.
Kurt and Charlotte are a free-wheeling, European sort of couple. Kurt fancies himself an artist, and all his paintings are of intimate body parts. Charlotte models breast pumps for graphic infomercials. They both enjoy booze and pot, and are freely affectionate with one another (and their new friends). They’re like the more cosmopolitan versions of Alex and Emily, who alternate between being amused by their hosts and being alarmed, awkward, or jealous. Kurt and Charlotte are the skinny-dipping type (of course), and a late-night swim brings out Alex’s body issues in a way not often explored this, uh, visually in comedies.
Jason Schwartzman is the movie’s MVP, playing Kurt somewhere between insincere goofball and a parody of L.A. hipster parents, often to hilarious effect. The inherently likable Adam Scott is a good foil, going for big, broad laughs when the situation calls for it but mostly staying grounded to balance out Schwartzman. Taylor Schilling (from “Orange Is the New Black”) is funniest when she’s reacting to Alex reacting to Kurt and Charlotte. Judith Godreche does good “kooky,” but she seems a little lost among the other three.
Unlike many vulgarcoms, this one builds up to and earns its outrageous situations: they seem to arise naturally out of what’s been established about the characters. (I suppose it helps to have characters whose primary description is “you never know what they’re gonna do!”) The writer-director is Patrick Brice, whose Mark Duplass-starring comedy-thriller “Creep” premiered at SXSW in 2014. Duplass exec-produced “The Overnight,” and it’s often reminiscent of the low-budget indie comedies he’s been associated with. The difference is that while most of those at least attempt to have a narrative point — an answer to the question of “So what?” — “The Overnight” just wants to score some laughs and go home. It’s weightless and unambitious, but it definitely scores those laughs.
B (1 hr., 20 min.; )
Originally published at GeekNation.