The Overnight was bound to be a Sundance sensation. You have an all-star cast featuring Jason Schwartzman, Taylor Schilling, Adam Scott, and Judith Godréche. Inide heroes the Duplass brothers signed on as executive producers, and a most simplistic idea that gives room for our lead actors to have lots and, I mean, lots of fun. While the Duplass brothers aren’t new to the subject matter of marriage, The Overnight’s writer and director Patrick Brice gave us something extremely meaty to chew. Sigmund Freud once said, “Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.” Well, this certainly applies to our two married couples who experience one expansive night they’ll never forget.
The initial idea of the story is a married couple who has just moved, newly arrived in Los Angeles from Seattle. They meet another couple for a dinner, after encountering the husband and father, Kirk (Jason Schwartzman), whose child is the same age as theirs. We have our first Seattle couple, charmingly hopeful and excitingly ready for a new life for their family. Then, we have our other couple, wacky, shamelessly curious and liberal, and sharply tongued. While there’s little background information regarding these couples’ histories, the behaviors that follow attribute to such strong differences and, perhaps, places in life these couples have arrived. Our Seattle couple, Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling), have bedroom issues, judging from the opening scene where Emily begs for Alex to do the “circles”, making her feel something, um, substantially bigger than what Alex has down there. Alex is turned on by his wife screaming that his manhood is bigger than it actually is. So, we have that right from the beginning of the film. Emily wants to have a career to support the family. And Alex is uncomfortable with his manhood.
Of course, a playground in the midst of some neighborhood that “young adults” who have kids manifest is the perfect opportunity for such a grand introduction by Schwartzman’s portayal of Kirk, whose cowboy hat and quirky outfit strikes our Seattle couple as rather…different? The catch is that their son Max has a found a new friend and Alex and Emily know their child doesn’t make friends so easily. So, it seems that this is divine intervention and their introduction to Los Angeles isn’t so bad, right?
The decision begins when they accept the invitation to dinner at Kirk and Charlotte’s (a starry eyed Judith Godréche) “French house”, as Kirk bluntly states later on in the film. What begins as an innocent pizza party, alongside their children, becomes a grotesquely adult journey that Ron Jeremy and Charlie Sheen have on a nightly basis. “This is California maybe this is what dinners are like.” Bongs…Porn…Lots of confrontation… Just like our newly arrived couple, we, as audiences, aren’t quite sure what the motives are here with the opposite couple but we do get the urgent sense that something very close to “swinger culture” is about to transpire. It would be a waste of time to begin describing what happens moment by moment, as the film’s rewarding aspect is the slow-burning pace and outrageous character revelations, such as Jason Schwartzman skinny dipping and taking great pride in his schlong.
The Overnight is destined to make those at home blush and its fearlessness and contemporary outlook on modern relationship obstacles is undoubtedly honest. Audiences have the chance to voyeuristically relate to the hardships of carrying a healthy relationship and maintaining communication with their spouses as they watch such naturalistic scenarios unfold. I haven’t laughed so hard seeing a film since Bridesmaids. Patrick Brice should feel very accomplished after reinventing the adult sex comedy (the film’s been compared to the classic Bob & Ted & Alice & Carol) and infusing such brilliant dialogue into the couples play here. An authentic adult comedy has been long overdue and The Overnight plays it just right without delving into the sentiments that could’ve easily been integrated.