Film Review: The Overnight

Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling in Patrick Brice's the Overnight (Image © The Orchard). 

Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling in Patrick Brice's the Overnight (Image © The Orchard). 

Patrick Brice’s The Overnight is exactly the kind of low-key, ambling shapeless sort of film you’d expect to do well at a film festival. It’s got all the boxes checked off. Low budget. Check. Actors with indie-cred. Check. Snappy, clever dialog. Check. Gratuitous male (prosthetic) nudity. Check. Why, there’s even Piper from Orange is the New Black. Everybody loves that show!

So yes, The Overnight was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival. But at your local AMC will it have the same cache? Sadly, no. Not really.

The story is about a couple, Alex and Emily (Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling), who new to LA, and Alex is concerned about making friends. Oh, and they have a little boy. They meet another couple, Kurt and Charlotte (Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godreche), who also have a little boy. Dinner arrangements are made. Alex and Emily arrive. Dinner is consumed. The boys are quickly shuttled off to bed. And then we slowly that Kurt and Charlotte have ulterior motives for this invitation…

But what could those motives be? Murder? Blackmail? Some fucked up Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf scenario? I guess you’ll have to watch to find out. Just kidding, it’s sex stuff. Of course it’s sex stuff. That’s obvious to us from the jump, but somehow isn’t obvious to Alex and Emily until well into the second act. There are some laughs to be had and a few mild surprises. (The fact that Kurt and Charlotte seem like the most fumbling and incompetent swingers ever is cutely explained by the third act). Also, Adam Scott continues to be a very engaging and highly naturalistic actor. He can only play Adam Scott of course, but he does it very believably.

But ultimately, there’s very little “there” there. There’s no artistry in the filmmaking, no acute observations about the human condition, no dramatic stakes in the story, and nothing that will be remembered a month from now. But hey, if you’re into fake dicks on celebrities and you’re bored with Boogie Nights, go for it.