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New Release Review - THE OVERNIGHT

A couple newly moved to LA are invited to a dinner party that takes increasingly odd turns.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Patrick Brice

Starring: Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godreche



"Just which audience The Overnight is aiming for - the low brow comedy crowd or the indie dramedy hipsters - is unclear, but the confusion in tone is likely to turn off both."



Hey The Overnight! 1971 called; it wants its pubic hair back! If there's one image that will stick in your head after viewing Patrick Brice's sophomore feature (his debut Creep has yet to be released outside the US) it's that of prosthetic peens surrounded by acres of pubes. Much of the movie obsesses over the male member, but it can't decide whether it wants to use the organ for shock or enlightenment, a dilemma that dogs the film as a whole.
Newly arrived in Los Angeles are young parents Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling). While playing in a local park with their son, they make the acquaintance of Kurt (Jason Schwartzman), an eccentric young parent who invites them to dinner at the home he shares with his pretty French wife Charlotte (Judith Godreche). Alex and Emily are immediately charmed by their artistic and extravagant new friends, but as the evening progresses and the wine flows, Kurt and Charlotte's behaviour becomes increasingly uncomfortable for the less socially liberal Alex and Emily.
Kurt comes across as such an oddball in the initial meeting that it's difficult to see why Alex and Emily would be drawn to him. The handsome Scott and pretty Schilling are oddly cast as an 'average couple', and if anything they're more attractive than Schwartzman and Godreche. It's interesting that a pair of actors chiefly associated with TV were cast in the roles of Alex and Emily, much like David Duchovny and Michelle Forbes playing off Brad Pitt and Juliette Lewis in 1993's Kalifornia, but the cultural landscape has changed so much that now the TV pair represent the bigger star pair, and in this case at least, the more charismatic.
With each narrative turn, The Overnight becomes ever more explicit, and the degree of shock effect will depend on the attitude of the individual viewer. At times, sexuality is dealt with in a sensitive manner, particularly concerning the issue of Alex's er...'hang'-ups over the size of his member compared to the more equine-like phallus liberally displayed by Kurt. Yet at the same time the film revels in its schoolboy shock tactics. Just which audience The Overnight is aiming for - the low brow comedy crowd or the indie dramedy hipsters - is unclear, but the confusion in tone is likely to turn off both.



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