Thursday, July 26, 2012

Overnight: Movie Review

 

A typical romantic comedy trajectory providing a few laughs and satisfying characters.

“Overnight” starts as a typical romantic comedy but then ventures into a comedic romance, where comedy comes first. The romantic elements all seem to be part of the joke. Jenny (Rachel Blanchard) and Tom (James D’Arcy) meet in LAX fresh from disastrous break-ups (although it was over a year ago for Tom) and are both way too flighty and maladjusted to know how to seek self-comfort. 2012

Directed by: Valerie Breiman

Screenplay by: Valerie Breiman

Starring: Rachel Blanchard and James D'Arcy

Then we meet a handful of mostly equally maladjusted passengers all on the red eye from Los Angeles to New York. These supporting characters are played by a range of hard-working talented actors to hard-working established, well-respected actors, to struggling up-and-comers. Two overly-bitter flight attendants were supposed to provide the comedy at the beginning, but it wasn’t clear why we needed to endure such despicable people and worse writing.

Shortly thereafter, we were introduced to simple, but effective, “random” airport screening selections, and a famous rapper trying to figure out how normal people fly. This unconventional trio surprisingly added the best moments of comedy and the best characterizations.

Our lead couple of two attractive thirty-somethings go from strangers to puppy love surrenderers to an argumentative married couple to hurtful divorcees all in the length of the plane ride. While it was vaguely amusing, there are 30-second commercials which do it better.

Last but not least the pilot and co-pilot get into philosophical discussions on marriage, sex and God versus atheism. Don’t sell it short since the pilot is played by Anthony LaPaglia after all. 2012 has also seen an odd trend where the male protagonist in romantic indies has a need, desire and ability to explain love and the universe in physics terms. Here, Tom was a physics teacher and it wasn’t nearly as bad as previous films but not the best either (see The Diary of Preston Plummer for that).

“Overnight” is light, sweet and funny enough to work as a romantic comedy. And if you want it to work on another level, it even takes the characters on a surprising and fairly satisfactory journey of self-discovery. (You’ll just need to turn it off three minutes early if you want their trajectory to be physically sound).


Recommended:

The Diary of Preston Plummer (2012) - Preston falls in love, Kate falls apart and the Universe expands.