Starring: Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman
Directed by: Patrick Brice (“Creep”)
Written by: Patrick Brice (“Creep”)
After a chance encounter at a playground, Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) run into Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) who invites them to meet him and his wife at their house for a dinner party. Soon enough, the craziness begins to become amplified and things get weirder as the night goes on. While Alex embraces his newly found personal development, Emily wonders what the actual motive of this seemingly normal couple really is in “The Overnight.”
From a comedy standpoint, “The Overnight” relies heavily on the personalities of its actors, and nobody shines better than Schwartzman. It isn’t far off from many characters he has played, but there’s a certain earnestness and sincerity, even when he is showing hubris, that Schwartzman can pull off perfectly. Scott and Schilling are also good here, especially in the juxtaposition of their reactions to the events taking place. There are certainly some funny moments throughout the film, yet it wouldn’t be quite fair to call it a straight-up comedy.
Where the film gets a little interesting is in its presentation of complacency, normalcy, and being comfortable. While writer/director Patrick Brice plays a lot of things close to the vest, it becomes apparent quite early on that the purpose of this gathering is not quite what it initially seemed. Without giving too much away, the film dips and dives into areas of sexual comfortability, body shame, and yes, swinging. The problem is, every moment feels set up to be shocking. Any time an interesting point is made about how the evening is making people rethink their insecurities or impacting their relationship, it doesn’t have much of a punch because something “crazy” happened before or after it to blunt its impact.
In a lot of ways, “The Overnight” is about stepping out of your comfort zone, albeit in a very adult fashion. The main problem, however, is that Brice seems to rely far too heavily on the film’s eccentricities and catching the viewer off guard by way of shock value. There’s a theme of curiosity that permeates through the film, and it almost feels mirrored in Brice’s approach to see how his audience would react. That isn’t to say that there aren’t good performances or some interesting complexities to the situations at hand, but “The Overnight” never quite extends past the idea that all relationships get boring after a while.
The Overnight was screening at the 2015 SXSW Film Festival.