The Overnight

Having seen two mild comedies at SXSW back to back I would like to compare why one works and one doesn’t. Both Fresno and The Overnight involve sex, some vulgarity, and suspension of belief. The Overnight, which is produced by funny man Mark Duplass (also a producer on yet another SXSW comedy, Adult Beginners) creates realistic boundaries in which the extremely funny and very awkward moments in the script can take place. There are never gags or subplots like in Fresno that reduce the plot to a sketch. Adam Scott (Hot Tub Time Machine 2) and Jason Schwartzman (Saving Mr. Banks) redeem themselves from recent critical and financial comedy bombs.

“I have everything I need under this roof”, Emily (Schilling) says. Emily and Alex (Scott) just moved to Los Angeles from Seattle where they meet Kurt (Schwartzman) and Charlotte (Godcreche) at a nearby park where their kids play. Emily and Alex are invited over for dinner and their lovely evening of pizza, rowdy children playing and wine turns into something entirely different after the children go to sleep. Kurt explains how they make a living, with breast pumping fetish videos online and his “portal” paintings. After lots of alcohol, penis comparisons while skinny dipping and even some illegal smoking, Emily begins to see what is happening. “I think we have went from a free willing Cali vibe to a swinger vibe”, she whispers to Alex who for the first time feels open and free, refusing to leave what is turning into a real adventure.

What actually develops is an insanely funny look at the different values and idealisms of modern day couples.

Through all its outrageous and hysterical moments, The Overnight explores alternative behaviors in married couples. It’s not a swinger movie, but a clever film that presents four characters admitting and exploring situations that I am willing to bet, happens more often than audiences might think. “There is a seriously delicious situation developing here,” Kurt says inviting the guests to the kitchen. What actually develops is an insanely funny look at the different values and idealisms of modern day couples. Alcohol and drugs are used to numb the uptight characters until the point where they either flee or participate in the strange events taking place.

One of the most memorable sequences in the film is not only the prosthetic penises, but rather the conversations about a man coming to terms with his own irregular size. Jokes are made, things are swung and exposed, but it’s as funny as it is uncomfortable to watch. Married couples will likely find this more entertaining than anyone else, as the normal couple responds graciously and apprehensively to everything that is presented during a night of exploration. The uncomfortable nature of the film has more to do with the dialogue exchange in the conversation than the images. Those turned off by nudity (mostly fake) or sexual discussion should stay away, but I never felt The Overnight crossed the line into vulgar territory when you compare with other rated R comedies today.

Final Thought

Funny, clever and outrageous without ever going too far.


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