The Overnight – Review ****

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A sex comedy that’s been nominated for Sundance, SXSW and Edinburgh International Film Fest? Please sign me in. Patrick Brice filmed The Overnight in two weeks, and the result makes most of this year’s comedies pale by comparison. Always threading a thin line between funny and cringe-worthy, the film succeeds in delivering a surreal portrait of the length modern couples would go to save their marriages.

Meet Alex and Emily (Parks and Recreation’s Adam Scott and Orange is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling. They just moved to California from Seattle and when we first see them, they’re having some really sad marital sex, put to an early end by their hyperactive son RJ. At a kids birthday party, RJ meets Max, and Max’s father, Kurt (Jason Schwartzmann), an extravagant man, who invites Alex and Emily for a pizza/welcome the new neighbors party at his mansion. The night starts normally enough: Kurt’s wife Charlotte (Judith Godrèche) is nice and welcoming, the wine flows, the weather is clear. But when Kurt suggests putting the kids to sleep and having some adult fun time, then things take a turn to the wild side. Do you remember the crazy night of The Hangover that we never get to see, but from the pictures of it? This will go way, way worse.

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Like Alex and not-so-naive Emily, we the audience have no idea what the hell is going on most of the time, and soon only one thing can be certain – the newcomers won’t be going home before the morning. From photographic sessions, to body-positive affirming moments (which includes loads of gratuitous male nudity, hurray!), it’s a crazy trip that never comes on the surface to breath. Obviously, after so much escalation on the weirdness scale, the full-circle ending seems too tame, but apart from that, there is no place for disappointment. Schartzmann, born to play this, is the big man in the film (pun intended), and his bromance with Scott’s character goes all fifty shades from friendship to high sexual tension in micro-seconds. Schilling’s Emily is probably the most complex of all four characters – she may seem reluctant to stay on what she sees as some kind of swinger situation, but at the end, she reveals herself not to be that innocent.

Filmed in two weeks, The Overnight makes it worthy to stay up all night. And if this is how California dinner parties are, I’m moving over!

The Overnight will be in UK cinemas from 26th June 2015

Sara is originally from Coimbra, Portugal, where she studied Film Studies before moving to London to enrol in film school. Having made her first short film about her neighbour's chickens when she was 9 (a dystopian sci-fi, still her favourite genre), she is now a London-based film director and editor, and also a writer for the Portuguese Take Magazine. She is a huge fan of Lars Von Trier, Krysztof Kiéslowski, and David Lean.