The Overnight is a sharp, sometimes surprising, and occasionally squirm-worthy sex comedy that takes up where the Paul Mazursky directed Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice left off over 40 years ago – but, oddly, it doesn’t go much further. In the new movie, written and directed by Patrick Brice (Creep), a pair of married, middle-class, square, sexually-blocked Seattle transfers to L.A. Alex and Emily (Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling) go wishing for friends while watching their young son play in a park with a new friend. Scott, a stay at home dad, asks, “Am I supposed to just ask other grownups if they want to be friends?” Voila, they get picked up by an aggressively outgoing hipster (Jason Schwartzman) named Kurt and, as telegraphed by the flick’s title, most of the interesting and slightly raunchy stuff takes place during an evening of dinner at the lavish, beyond-cool home of Kurt and his sleek, continental wife (Judith Godreche).
Kurt, a painter-poseur whose canvases depict anatomically correct anuses, is the kind of charismatic douche who utters politically correct inanities like, “That water you’re drinking was initially sewage.” But once the couples’ sons get put to bed and the four run out of pizza, the talk gets bluer, the bong gets passed around, hands begin to roam, clothes get shed, and things get awkward. Out of all the touchy-feely stuff comes some painful, touching truths – even while the characters rarely stop saying and doing exceptionally funny, embarrassing, risqué things.
The movie takes shots at both the uptight and the cool couple but just when emotions run hot, boundaries get tested and things get truly messy and interesting, the characters shrug their shoulders and shake it off. You almost expect somebody to say sheepishly, “I was so stoned and drunk that …” All four leads are excellent, but this is Schwartzmann’s funniest, truest work in years; he’s absurd, charismatic, and deeply weird – especially when strutting a prosthetic mega-schlong that sends the also terrific Scott spiraling deeper into prosthetic cashew-schlong panic. Schilling, as she’s proven on Orange Is the New Black, sport a wicked sense of deadpan and she’s genuinely touching opposite Scott. The Overnight is worth ogling but, like a professional tease, it only takes us half the way.