By Dave Montalbano
Following in the brotherly footsteps of the Peter/ Robert Farrelly and Joel/ Ethan Cohen, Jay and Mark Duplass are poised to be the next fraternal force in the entertainment industry.
Their HBO show Togetherness has already become a critical and ratings success. Co-starring Melanie Lynskey, it is an intimate portrayal of married couples and their comedic sexual foibles. While the Duplass brothers only serve as executive producers, the movie The Overnight feels like one of their productions.
Written and directed by Patrick Brice, this film presents an ensemble actor’s showcase for Jason Schwartzman (Shopgirl), Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation), Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black) and French actress Judith Godreche. Scott and Schilling portray Alex and Emily, a married couple who have transplanted from Seattle to California with their little boy.
One day in the park, the little boy makes a new friend, who is the son of Kurt (Schwartzman). Kurt invites Alex, Emily and their son to his mansion for a sleepover. Once the boys go to sleep, things get very strange for the grownups.
In this low budget independent film, Brice proves to be an economical director. He makes the most of every moment with shot composition that highlights the verbal interaction between the actors.
Case in point, when Alex and Kurt talk about their artistic influences, Kurt’s paintings of human anatomy are in the background – which undercuts the artist’s pretension. Not all the comedy is so cerebral. The film sets private moments of serious intimacy (often involving nudity) that sometimes get interrupted at the worse possible moments.
While Kurt and his wife come across as California’s version of Gomez and Morticia Addams, Alex and Emily are to represent the conduit for the audience. The way they quickly devolve into recreational drug usage is where The Overnight loses its verisimilitude.
Unlike the disappointing Memorial Day box office weekend, this 4th of July weekend is projected to be a winner as Terminator Genysis opens. Given that Jurassic World is still a box office juggernaut, seating might be easier to get for The Overnight.
For those who wish to stay at home during the fireworks launch, PBS will feature A Capitol Fourth. The concert will include everything from Barry Manilow and K.C. and the Sunshine Band to reliable tough guy Robert Davi, who will be paying tribute to Frank Sinatra on what would be the crooner’s centennial year.
Have a safe and happy Independence Day !