Every now and then an indie film comes along that defines why we need them. The Overnight is the perfect example of how smaller films are usually the ones showing us something original and fresh, a feat the bigger studio comedies seem to have a tough time achieving. Once again, we can thank the Duplass brothers for bringing together the talent and producing a film which is possibly the funniest they’ve ever been involved in.
Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) and Taylor Schilling (Orange Is The New Black) play Alex and Emily, a couple who have recently moved to L.A. from Seattle and are looking to meet some new friends. When their son hits it off with another kid in the playground, a playdate is set up that ends up being much more for the adults than the children. Pretty soon it becomes clear that Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) and Charlotte (Judith Godrèche) are willing to share a lot more than just pizza with their guests. What follows is hilarious, unpredictable, laugh-out-loud adult fun.
Following last year’s Creep, this is writer/ director Patrick Brice’s second film, and he really nails it. Everything about it works, but its success lies in two major factors: the mystery of Kurt and Charlotte’s motives, and the comedic brilliance of Schwartzman. Kurt is the kind of guy who you’re unsure if you love him or hate him. He’s either the best person in the world or the worst, which can really be a fine line at times. He appears so virtuous and generous that it makes you suspicious of him as you wait for the other shoe to drop. Nobody could have played this better than Schwartzman, who is so soft spoken and sincere, yet larger than life in many ways, despite his stature.
Adam Scott is once again playing the straight man. He’s truly the fish-out-water, with his lame goatee and inability to hold his alcohol and marijuana, but with an honest desire to just have a buddy nearby. Every time it feels like it’s time to leave or things are getting a little too weird, Kurt and Charlotte come up with a reason to make Alex and Emily stay, essentially killing them with kindness. While Kurt and Alex probably get the funniest moments, the wives are given plenty to play with as well. Together, the four of them make a very level four legged table, with the characters and performers complementing one another and creating comedic harmony.
The raunchy yet sensitive tone is what sets this film apart from other comedies. The humour is broad at times but the characters are fully formed people with eccentricities and insecurities. In this sense, it’s kind of like Judd Apatow meets Noah Baumbach. This balance could have easily thrown the entire film out of whack, but Brice is able to make it work to his advantage and add to the intrigue. It’s exciting when you don’t know if the next scene will be a deep confession or a really good dick joke. Surprise is the essence of comedy, and The Overnight is full of surprises.
Read our interview with Adam Scott here.