The year 2015 has been a sexual wake-up call for straight people. Fifty Shades of Grey, Magic Mike XXL, and Ex Machina all explored the darker sides of hetero love and lust, but they all pale in comparison to The Overnight.
The Overnight was a film no one noticed — its best advertisement was a single-page article in OUT — but its lineup was stellar: Adam Scott from “Parks and Recreation,” Jason Schwartzman from all of Wes Anderson’s films, and Taylor Schilling from “Orange Is The New Black.”
Its premise is enough to turn away shy moviegoers looking for a standard rom-com. From the pink neon trailer to the poster tagline (“Get into the swing of things”), audiences may surmise it has something to do with swingers and swinging, and it does, but not in the way you expect.
Alex and Emily (Scott and Schilling) just moved from Seattle to L.A. with their son AJ and they’re worried they won’t make any friends. That very day in the park they meet Kurt (Jason Schwartzman), a hipster L.A. dad with an implacable ego and subtly flirtatious mannerisms, and they’re hooked.
Kurt invites the new couple over for dinner that night, which happens generally without a hitch. After they put the kids to bed, the party keeps going and things get weird. A lot is funny. A lot is strange. After ten minutes of what can adequately be called an extended penis joke, Alex, cursed with an incredibly small (fake) member, says to his wife, “For the first time in my life, I love my dick.”
We’re tempted to laugh, but we realize it’s not a joke. And the film does something we need it to. It talks to straight people in the audience, and straight men in particular, and tells them some valuable lessons: it’s OK to want sex with people other than your wife. And it’s OK to love your body. And it’s OK to have insecurities about your body. And it’s important, as a couple, to talk about these things.
In this way, an awkward dark comedy about swingers becomes something important — a takedown of toxic masculinity and an instructional on how valuable it can be to meet (and play with) other couples.
Why should you see this movie? Because it’s funny, and because we live in a culture of toxic relationships. There are so many married people with children who are plagued by the ever-present menace of cheating, people who want to be happy and satisfied with their partners but don’t know how to. This movie is a casual, lighthearted, comic way of addressing these issues head-on. The Overnight is a winner.