Two Night Stand (2014) / Comedy-Romance
MPAA Rated: R for sexual material, language and some drug use
Running Time: 86 min.
Cast: Analeigh Tipton, Miles Teller, Jessica Szohr, Scott Mescudi, Michael Showalter, Victor Cruz, Leven Rambin
Director: Max Nichols
Screenplay: Mark Hammer
Review published September 30, 2014
The premise is simple: jilted Megan (Tipton, Lucy) is on the relationship rebound and decides to have a one-night stand with Alec (Teller, Divergent) a guy she meets on a dating site. After they insult each other during the morning after, they end up having to deal with one another as real people when they get snowed in Alec's hipster-paradise apartment in Brooklyn.
Tipton and Teller work well together, exuding a natural chemistry on screen to believe that the two could like each other underneath all of the insults they lob against one another. They're not exactly setting fire to the screen, but for a low-rent rom-com, they're still fun to watch. Teller in particular is continuing to impress with his comfortable demeanor in romantic films -- he may not be the hottest guy on the screen just based on looks, but with his rambunctious charm, it's never in doubt that he could get the hottest girl if she gave him a chance.
As for Tipton, she finally gets her chance to shine in a nuanced lead role. As with Teller, she's not traditionally "hot" (an opening montage showcasing her filling out a dating profile has her describe herself as looking like a "pretty alien"), but she's fun and funny enough to think she'd be deemed quite a catch to many men. She's not as natural at banter as Teller, at least not yet, but she does perform well working with him, which is all that matters when the bar of entertainment is this low. Viewers are just looking for a few laughs and a pleasant time.
The movie is strongest in its first half, with the snarky interplay of the leads, both on and offline. Though the two will obviously end up together in the end, there's ample laughs to be had watching them get each other's goats. The movie does lose momentum as Hammer and Nichols try to bite off more than they can chew by trying to go for a desperately zany finale, but by that point, you'll likely be willing to let things slide if you feel you've gotten your fill of laughs leading up to it.
There are some funny moments -- Megan makes an embarrassing blunder by stopping up the commode when she sees an all-too-telling article on loose women in one of Alec's bathroom reading mags, and without a plunger, it's just another test to stay on each other's good sides. They also feel as if they'll never see each other again after their experience, so it allows them a certain cavalier freedom to say to each other what they will, which they use to their advantage when they decide to critique each other's lovemaking technique to help them with their future sexual escapades.
Mike Nichols' son Max, here in his first directorial effort, isn't quite yet a chip off the ol' block (we're still a long way from the next The Graduate), but he does a decent enough job holding together a clever, if contrived, script by debut feature screenwriter Mark Hammer (the witty webcam interplay for the "psycho test" sold me on the film almost instantly). It's reminiscent of a 1980s sex-com, albeit with millennial sensibilities and technology, which isn't a surprise given that I've often compared Teller to John Cusack in his early years. If you like films like Risky Business, The Sure Thing, and a foundation of The Breakfast Club's premise and execution, this is one you may watch on more than one night.
©2014 Vince Leo