The Overnight Review [SXSW 2015]

Alexander Lowe

Reviewed by:
On March 21, 2015
Last modified:March 21, 2015


Absolutely hilarious and very well written, The Overnight is like a dinner party that you'll want to stay at far into the morning.

The Overnight Review


It seems that the older you get, the harder it is to make friends. In your youngest years, friends would be made for you through playdates. As you hit middle school and high school, everyone is always looking for a new friend. The same is true with all the people that are met in college or a first job setting. After that, as a grown adult, it’s slim pickings. But, for the characters in The Overnight, all it takes is a chance encounter in a park for a wonderful friendship to emerge (or so it would seem).

Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) are new to LA, having moved from Seattle with their toddler son. Alex is concerned they won’t have any friends in their new neighborhood, but after their son starts playing with another boy, his father Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) insists they come to dinner that night. Upon arrival, they meet Kurt’s beautiful French wife Charlotte (Judith Godrèche), and a lovely dinner party begins.

Just looking at that basic premise, The Overnight sounds like a rather lame setup for a comedy, but it’s where Patrick Brice takes the story next that leads to a hilariously bold film. As the night progresses, Alex and Emily get further out of their comfort zone thanks to some prodding from Kurt and Charlotte and the intake of an array of substances which Kurt provides. They carry on well into the night (after all, only in America do we let kids determine when the night is over) and things get weirder and weirder with every passing moment.

Surprisingly, there’s an incredible tension to this film, especially when you consider just how funny it is. It’s rare that I’m laughing out loud and on the edge of my seat for fear all at once, and yet Brice is somehow able to bridge that gap. Perhaps that’s because the story is so strong. He’s able to weave through various points in the plot without having any one aspect dominate and without ever falling away from the jokes for too long.

Adam Scott may be the best straight man in comedy today, and while he does his fair share of that in this movie, once his character fully relaxes, he gets to do so much more. He also has some really strong emotional scenes, though they’re still about a rather humorous manner. His acting in those scenes is exceptional, but it’s obviously the laughs that will be remembered here. The scenes between Scott and Schwartzman are easily the highlight of the movie, and I found myself cackling so hard at their banter that I likely laughed over even funnier lines. Plus, these two are living proof that, when done well, nudity can still be funny.

Not to be outdone, Schwartzman delivers one of the most enjoyable performances of his career, using the overconfidence so many of his characters are known for in the most adult way yet. His overhosting is as hilarious as his full-frontal nudity, and it’s all handled with the style and sureness of a top-notch actor. Really, all four leads do some very memorable acting, and for a film that takes the characters on the kind of ride that this one does, that’s a very impressive accomplishment.

The Overnight may be too off-the-wall for some and it’s certainly not going to have the mass appeal that a safer film would, but I loved every single minute. It’s so fresh, so bold, and so funny, proving that Brice is a filmmaker worth keeping your eye on.

Honestly, it’s really hard to find too many faults with The Overnight. It’s a sex comedy for people who don’t like sex comedies and a tale of married life for people who can’t stand watching movies about married life. Like any good dinner party, there’s laughs, there’s heartfelt moments, and there’s enough awkwardness to last until dawn.

The Overnight Review

Absolutely hilarious and very well written, The Overnight is like a dinner party that you'll want to stay at far into the morning.