“The Overnight” centers around Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Shilling), recent transplants from Seattle, as they settle into their new life in LA. When their son RJ makes a friend at the park, they accept his dad Kurt’s (Jason Schwartzman) dinner invitation assuming best case scenario, they’ve made a friend. Worst case scenario, they wasted an evening.
The evening that does ensue goes far past what the couple envisioned. Kurt and his wife Charlotte (Judith Godrèche) are on the weird side of perfect, with a gorgeous house, despite their strange taste in film and art. After dinner, Kurt and Charlotte convince their guests to let RJ sleep upstairs with their son so that the party can continue. The night takes a turn, as drinking, pot smoking and skinny-dipping begins. Early on it becomes obvious that Kurt and Charlotte have an ulterior sexual motive for the evening, though the details aren’t made clear until the film’s end. In between, both couples let loose and explore topics that are normally taboo, from body image issues to the struggles of marital monogamy.
It’s rare to see a film that allows adults to inhabit a sexual space so often reserved for teenagers. While it’s refreshing to see “grown-ups” air their insecurities on screen and admit to struggling with such universal issues, the casual tone only allows for the film to get so deep. A wild scene where Alex and Kurt show off their manliness (or not so manliness on Alex’s part), may be the most memorable scene for the slapstick humor, but only touches on male ego and insecurity. How do you go about making friends when you’re too old to meet them at school? How do you balance a sex life with parenthood? How do you stay responsible while still remaining open to new experiences? Writer/director Patrick Brice artfully mixes these questions in with comedic moments so the existential dilemmas are never overwhelming. Though the evening doesn’t go as any of the characters had planned, there’s the sense that each emerges stronger after their shared night.
The light hearted nature of the film as well as the stellar cast does allow room for forgiveness in the less stand out moments. The chemistry between the actors allow each to bring out the best in the other, giving Scott, Schwartzman, Schilling, and Godreche each their own narrative and moments. As the film progresses, the four keep playing off one another as one outrageous unexpected event leads to the another. While the climax (ahem) of the film is a bit lackluster compared to bigger parts of the film, the realism of the moment keeps the film in check.
Written & Directed By: Patrick Brice
Starring: Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godrèche