Who says slumber parties are just for the kids? The Overnight from Indie writer/director Patrick Brice (Creep) explores the mind expanding opportunities and awkward ramifications of family night that turns debaucherous.
Alex and Emily (Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling) have just moved with their son RJ to Los Angeles from Seattle and are trying to acclimate to the new culture. They also don’t really know anyone and have barely met the parents of RJ’s classmates. At the park one day, RJ begins playing with Wade, whose father Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) strikes up a conversation with Alex and Emily. He’s odd but friendly, and when he invites Alex, Emily and RJ over pizza night and a play date, they readily accept. They just don’t realize the type of play Kurt and his wife Charlotte (Judith Godreche) have in mind.
Being new to the city and somewhat naïve, Alex and Emily are desperate for their first L.A. friends and eye this chance encounter as potential for new mommy and daddy friends and a regular playmate for their son. Los Angeles can be overwhelming for natives much less recent transplants.
The big night arrives, and while Kurt and Charlotte prove a bit more eclectic than Alex and Emily are used to, everyone is having a fun time. Then the kids go to bed, and the real fireworks begin.
Brice’s script is an ode to the subtext of longing and acceptance, as we learn that Kurt and Charlotte are interested in Alex and Emily as more than just friends. While overtly sexual and fueled by drugs and alcohol — and even shocking with a midnight skinny dipping session, and the audience seeing Schwartzman’s Full Monty albeit with an obvious prosthetic and Scott’s equally fake “little guy” — the story line goes much deeper than freaky fun time enjoyed by four consenting adults.
Brice delves into the theme of impulse versus reservation as much as it does into sexuality and the boredom that infects many marriages, as well as into the characters’ self esteem or lack there of. The story attempts to strike a balance between nonjudgmental values, lust, love, jealousy and downright naïveté. His script hits a crescendo when, after Alex angrily confronts both Kurt and Charlotte after finally realizing what Emily has been trying to tell him all night, the couples embrace in friendship only to get caught up in the moment. What ensues is awkward hilarity.
The Overnight is a fun film while it will never be accused of being cinematic mastery. But it is what it is and shines under the spotlight of Schwartzman’s acting, especially. As usual, he brings a flavorfully eccentric and oddball quality to the screen that is honest and forthright. Give this film a chance if you want to laugh, perhaps also cry and enjoy an evening with the spouse that transcends a normal Friday evening. Just make sure the kids have already gone to bed … and they stay there.
My Redbox Vote: Definitely worth $1.50 to rent it.
Rotten Tomatoes Vote: 82%