The Overnight

Firstly, what a great day in the US! Marriage Equality is country-wide! I want to remember this day forever. What will make this day extra memorable is that I saw Adam Scott tweet about a couple showings of The Overnight in Chicago where he would be in attendance for Q&A sessions after the movies. So not only did I get the right to marry in this country, I also got to meet Adam Scott! What a memorable day.

And what a fun movie. This is not the typical indie comedy. It is not shy about going to that uncomfortable zone. This film covers everything: full-frontal male nudity, breast pumps, massages with happy endings, skinny dipping, butt-hole paintings, among other things — so if any of that would make you uncomfortable, you’re probably not going to enjoy the film. Despite all the racy content, it’s ultimately a story exploring the stagnancy that comes with marriage and children. Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) moved to Los Angeles with their young son. She’s a career-oriented woman; Alex is a stay-at-home dad and finding life socially challenging. How do you meet new people at that age, when you don’t have work?

It’s a very interesting concept, because I imagine this is a widespread experience. You grow up, get married, have kids, and, as Adam Scott said after the film, you reach a point in life where you stop changing and growing, and it’s hard to deal with that. So this film explores that — albeit in very exaggerated ways. Alex and Emily learn how to figure out how to get past the inert quality of their relationship from spending one crazy night with Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) and Charlotte (Juliet Godrèche). 

I will admit that I didn’t foresee the direction the narrative was going to take. It became one of the most palpable and thrilling shared movie theater experiences I’ve ever had. Throughout the entire film, the audience was laughing consistently, but when the climax of the film arrived, the audience became very quiet. It was an unexpected turn — something you thought could happen but not something you thought would actually happen. Then it’s actually happening before your very eyes, and I couldn’t even tell you how long it lasted. Time stood still, and the audience was silent. It was the kind of silence that you can feel all around you — like everyone was holding their breaths. I was holding mine. I was shocked, honestly, and wondering what was going to happen. I won’t tell you what happens, but it’s all in line with the somewhat twisted humor of the film. 

Definitely one of the most fun movie theater experiences, and it was such a treat to hear Adam Scott speak — and such a treat to meet him! What a night!

Our Idiot Brother

On the eve of Chiberia, my roommate and I ordered in some Chinese food and cozied in with a movie night. We keep making the “mistake” of browsing Netflix’s “Comedy” category for a light-hearted comedy. I say mistake only because we keep finding movies that are actually “dramedies”, with an unexpectedly poignant message that we are not mentally prepared for. We scrolled through some titles and picked Our Idiot Brother. It wasn’t a “mistake” to watch it — since it was a nice movie — but it wasn’t what we were looking for.

Our Idiot Brother (2011), directed by Jesse Peretz, is about Ned (Paul Rudd), an unaware but kind and sweet man, who befalls adversity, both in his life and the lives of his sisters. He means no ill will on anybody, but he lacks common sense and foresight to understand the consequences of his action. Basically, this film is is about the bond between Ned and his sisters and how it grows stronger throughout the movie. Even more simply, it’s the story about how Ned is reunited with his dog. At its most simple, it’s the story of how Ned finds love — the most weak part of the film. After defining complex relationships between Ned and his siblings, his siblings and their partners, the conclusion of the film seems too cliché and too unimaginative. The rest of the film was clever and interesting, and this ending is a bad aftertaste after an intriguing meal.

Paul Rudd plays Ned very well, exuding charm and charisma. He’s charming in every way, including his foolish antics. He ends up “ruining” the lives of all three of his sisters: Miranda (Elizabeth Banks), Liz (Emily Mortimer), and Natalie (Zooey Deschanel). His honesty unravels Liz’s marriage, stifles Miranda’s article at work, and destroys Natalie’s partnership with Cindy (Rashida Jones). The three sisters ultimately gang up on Ned and his idiocy, but the beauty of this film is that they all have made bad decisions that have led to the rocky points in their relationships. It was merely Ned’s light push that brought all their insecurities and secrets to light. Through these complex relationships, the film cleverly shines the “foolish” light on the three sisters — who are normal members of society, seemingly put-together, with common sense and good judgement — through Ned’s exaggerated stupidity. 

Even with a small budget, this film excels, particularly in make-up and costume design. This film manages to make beautiful women like Rashida Jones and Emily Mortimer very plain and even unattractive. Playing down attractiveness is a huge plus in this film; it makes it feel more real. It’s more relatable. It also works on Paul Rudd, with that long, flowing hair.

Even though it wasn’t what we were looking for, Our Idiot Brother entertained us. The cast is incredible, also featuring Adam Scott. For an independent film, the ending seems a little too passive and flat. It’s what you expect from a big-budget rom-com. One can say that it’s fitting with Ned’s character, as he’s an idealist — and something I appreciate as a hopeless romantic — but it casts too much attention on itself compared to the tone of the rest of the film. While it may have been a “mistake”, it was a happy accident to stumble on to Our Idiot Brother