It’s not often that two families have an Overnight right after they meet, but Alex and Emily are thrilled when they meet another couple at the park soon after they have moved to a new city. At first they’re a bit taken aback by the father of their son’s new playmate, who strides over to them dressed mostly in black, wearing sunglasses, holding one of the gummy worms their son had, and sounding a bit like a professor talking about good nutrition and emphasizing that his family is vegan. Alex and Emily stand there stunned, until the man chuckles and says, “Just kidding.” As they chat, he invites them to his house for pizza later on in the evening. He is so welcoming, the new family decides to take a chance and accept his invitation.
When Alex, Emily, and their son arrive at the hosts’ expensive hacienda, they’re a bit intimidated, but are made to feel at home very quickly. The two families hit it off, and although there are a couple of things that A and E find a bit unusual, they’re also excited about the unusually talented K and C. For instance, Kurt introduces them to his invention for filtering waste water (he points out it is from waste water only after Alex has drunk half a glass), then they insist the parents put their boys to bed so the couples can have adult time. Kurt proceeds to light incense and play the piano softly in their son’s bedroom, and sure enough, the boys are quickly fast asleep.
Patrick Brice, the writer/director, proceeds with his very subtle script, which involves tours of the house, Kurt’s paintings, a trip to town to replenish after-dinner drink supplies, swimming in the pool, and heart-to-heart conversations. Some are rather probing, and Emily whispers to Alex, “This is California; maybe this is what dinner parties are about” and Alex states after an insightful conversation with Kurt, “I feel like I just gave birth to myself.” We in the audience are drawn in just as smoothly as Alex and Emily are. The conversations are interesting and oftentimes funny, and the lives of Kurt and Charlotte seem so novel, we enjoy the get-together right along with the characters—although it is true that part of our fun is in the increasing discomfort of Alex and Emily. And I’m sure the uneasiness wasn’t limited to the characters. The adult portion of the party is quickly brought to an end early the next morning when the two boys burst in upon the adults, ready for a new day.
By the end of the film, it does seem like Alex and Emily have opened Pandora’s Box, with maybe surprising results for Kurt and Charlotte as well, and it’s not entirely clear what the consequences will be.
The script, direction, and acting are of high quality in The Overnight, but it is very explicit about adult matters, so the viewer should be aware of that aspect.
If you are up to a witty, intelligent, playful romp, you are likely to enjoy this film.