DIRECTOR: Patrick Brice18713601105_09dd5ab462_o

CAST: Adam Scott, Taylor Schilling, Jason Schwartzman, Judith Godrèche, R.J. Hermes, Max Moritt

RUNNING TIME: 79 mins

CERTIFICATE: 15

BASICALLY…: During a playdate between the children of two couples (Scott and Schilling, Schwartzman and Godrèche), things become more interesting when they are put to bed…

NOW FOR THE REVIEW…

Films like American Pie and Van Wilder – you know, teen-orientated flicks with an immature sense of humour – are the first things we think about when we hear the term “sex comedy”. That is, a mix between gross-out gags and topless women is abound while keeping its focus on the pleasures of getting laid.

Thankfully, there’s not a sight of anything like that in The Overnight, which takes the label of a sex comedy and does something completely different with it – while never entirely losing sight of what it is.

The basic premise, and we do mean basic, is that couple Alex and Emily (Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling) have recently moved to California with their young son R.J. (R.J. Hermes) and, in a bid to make friends of their own, come along at the invitation of Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) and his wife Charlotte (Judith Godrèche) to their gorgeous villa for the evening when R.J. starts playing with their own son Max (Max Moritt). From there, especially when the children are put down for the night, all sorts of awkwardness and tribulations occur, leading to the uncomfortable realisation that Kurt and Charlotte might be – to quote Alan Partridge – “sex people”.

As far as sex comedies go, this film plays it VERY low-key as it keeps the focus on the rising awkwardness between both couples and the uncertainty of where it could possibly go. Naked frolicking in the pool – along with perhaps one or two prosthetics, not to give anything away – and the examining of Kurt’s painting hobby involving certain orifices (again, keeping things under wraps so not to ruin the surprise) all eventually lead to a point where the tension, as it were, can no longer be contained. It’s a sex comedy where you’re not even sure that there’s going to be any sex at all, and funnily enough that’s where much of the comedy comes from, just the awkwardness and uncertainty of it all.

The best example of this is a scene around the mid-point where Kurt – having very recently exposed an, erm, enlarged part of the body to the unsuspecting coupe – convinces Alex – who, for lack of a better explanation, doesn’t have that same luxury – to perform a confidence building dance routine that eventually sees both men go completely starkers. At first, you can’t believe what you’re seeing since both men with varying “sizes” are dancing side by side without a care in the world, but then you realise that this could all be a ploy to arouse a sense of desire that may or may not be acted upon by the end. Whether it does or not we won’t say here, but whatever the outcome it’s a hilariously uncomfortable moment of free-spirited relaxation and awkward comparisons. No wonder Schilling’s character looks so shocked and uneasy throughout it.

Schilling, incidentally, is part of a quartet of actors that truly shine here, thanks to writer-director Patrick Brice’s improv-heavy direction and ability to just let his characters breathe and seem like real people caught up in this unusual situation. Scott and Schilling are a likable couple, sharing a nice chemistry while also acting well individually with Scott in particular giving a very naturalistic performance – they even have an opening sex scene that far and away outdoes Bad Neighbours’ dreadful opening act of indecency; in fact, the more we think about it, this is the film that Bad Neighbours should have been with a better balance of comedy and awkwardness. Schwartzman and Godrèche also impress and get to shine as the couple with a slightly warped and overly-eccentric way of the world, least of all their demonstration of Charlotte’s participation in an instructional video involving, of all things, breast pumps. You completely buy these couples’ chemistry with each other, which makes the later revelations all the more funny, but even before then they work well as a quartet which gives the movie a great charm to keep watching and seeing where it all leads to.

Though there are undeniably some out there that prefer the American Pie style of sex comedy, that favours both a balance of sex gags and gross-out humour, they can at least admire the alternative that The Overnight offers; a sex comedy that plays far more on the comedy that it does the sex.

SO, TO SUM UP…

The Overnight is a funny blend of awkwardness and uncertainty which makes it a very different sex comedy than most, but is still worth watching thanks to its unpredictability, genuinely funny moments, and a likable quartet of performers that propel it further than one may be expecting. Just don’t go if you have a little bit of penis envy…