(2015; dir. Patrick Brice)—In the past 24 hours, I’ve seen Parks and Recreation
alum Adam Scott’s fake penis twice. I was ready for it the first time because it appeared towards the end of the pilot episode of HBO’s sexually explicit, mostly forgotten 2007 series Tell Me You Love Me
, in which Scott played a central role. But last night, midway through Patrick Brice’s unpredictable new chamber comedy about Alex and Emily (Scott and Taylor Schilling), a thirty-something couple who meet and eventually spend a long night partying at the huge home of fellow thirty-somethings Kurt and Charlotte (Jason Schwartzman and Judith Godrèche), a decidedly different prosthetic version of Scott’s joystick hove unexpectedly into view. In Tell Me You Love Me
, Scott’s display of plastic nudity only added to the show’s clinical, curious, operating-table asexuality; in The Overnight
, Scott’s decision to display his genitalia feels less exploitative and thrown-in: it’s simultaneously embarrassing, desperate and triumphant. The size of Scott’s merch on display is different, too, but that’s another story.
Scott’s poolside disrobing (and subsequent dance number) is one of many gangly, touching and quietly unsettling moments in Brice’s film, which continuously swerves and skirts the larger implications of the “swinger vibe” Emily notices once the kids are put to bed, the big glass bong comes out, and Kurt spirits Alex away to his art studio to show off his swirling paintings of buttholes—which Kurt calls “Portals” because of course he does. As Kurt plies Alex and Emily with whiskey and nice robes and breast-pump DVDs and says things like “Give me 20 minutes and I will give you parental bliss,” the visiting couple find themselves trying to both draw the line somewhere and accept their hosts’ eccentricities without judgment because hey, it’s hard for adults with kids to make new friends and meet new people. The film saves its biggest joke for the very end but is wise enough to return to earth briefly once the long night ends, making The Overnight
shorter, truer and more fun than most of the blockbusters currently squatting in theaters.