The Overnight walks the line between raunchy sex comedy and relationship drama 

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3 stars

Male genitalia have seen something of a renaissance in cinema these days, with films like Magic Mike, The Wolf of Wall Street and others putting stars' junk front and center in varying degrees of nudity. But it has perhaps never been taken to such comedic heights as in writer-director Patrick Brice's The Overnight. In one scene, Adam Scott and Jason Schwartzman gleefully swing their prosthetic goods around while a pounding beat commands them to "Whip It Out." It's a wild scene of masculinity that's as silly as it is uncomfortable.

That pretty much sums up the tone of the whole film, in which a couple new to Los Angeles, Alex (Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling), agrees to a family pizza night at the mansion of eccentric Kurt (Schwartzman) and his wife Charlotte (Judith Godreche). After a pleasant enough evening of wining and dining, the kids are put to bed and the night grows increasingly hedonistic. A lot of champagne is guzzled. Pot is smoked. A breast pump instructional video is watched. And as puzzling advances are made toward Alex and Emily, they begin to wonder whether they've unintentionally agreed to swing.

The dick-flopping scene is as silly as the film gets, but don't think The Overnight is a strictly raunchy comedy, á la the Farrelly Brothers (Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin). It was produced by the Duplass Brothers (The Skeleton Twins, Safety Not Guaranteed), so that should give you some sense of the film's spirit. There's a sadness and frustration underlying Alex and Emily's relationship, while Kurt and Charlotte act as almost surreal forces of suggestion who push their new friends to let their guards down and take part in their self-indulgent frolic.

As ridiculous as the situations get (wait until you get a load of Kurt's paintings), these silly moments don't really add up to more than gags. Luckily the ensemble holds the material together credibly with naturalistic performances. Humblebrag-extraordinaire Schwartzman was born to play this role, and Scott is a phenomenal straight man, as always. Schilling matches Scott's dumbfounded reactions nicely and Godreche plays the seductress well. All of their chemistry drips off the screen.

The sexual tension between the four grows to a boil only to fizzle out with a closing scene that amounts to one big shrug. Hey, the sun has to come up sometime. Along the way, it walks the line between sex comedy and relationship drama (a tricky tightrope for sure). Some challenging issues, like monogamy and sexual boundaries, are effectively explored. There are moments of troubling horror and moments several will find disturbingly relatable. If anything, The Overnight will make you question the stability of your own relationships. See it with someone you love.


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