Tag Archives: sex comedies

Parentus Interruptus

Blockers

by George Wolf

Is it me, or is there an encouraging trend building here? In the last few years, mainstream teen comedies such as The Duff, The Edge of Seventeen and Love, Simon have shown more smarts and diversity, with less reliance on the same old same old pandering.

Blockers starts with a cliched teen sex premise – gotta get some before college! – and turns it sideways, managing solid laughs (and some self-aware winks at romance fantasies) in the process.

Julie, Sam, and Kayla (Kathryn Newton, Gideon Adlon, Geraldine Viswanathan) are three Chicago-area high school seniors who vow to all turn in their V-cards on prom night (so they can commemorate the occasion every year at the Olive Garden).

The girls’ respective parents (Leslie Mann, Ike Barinholtz, John Cena) uncover the plans for “sexpact2018” (after a hilarious bit of emoji code-breaking) and set their own quest in motion: less cocking and more blocking.

Veteran writer Kay Cannon (30 Rock, the Pitch Perfect films) makes her directing debut, giving some nicely paced zest to the winning script from Brian Kehoe and Jim Kehoe. Even the film’s most outlandish moments (a “chugging” contest gone way wrong) seem to serve the film’s purpose.

Young adults are capable of making intelligent choices, and young women don’t need saving. Adults can be juvenile in their own self-interest, and some raunchy laughs can be had making all of those points.

Yes, the points come on a bit strong time and again, but the cast (especially Mann) keeps it  lively and relatable. If Blockers means this movie trend is working, keep ’em coming.

Giggle.

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Neighborhood

The Overnight

by Hope Madden

When handled properly, even the slightest premise or most ridiculous behavior can turn into an insightful and moving observation. Such is the case with the frank and uncomfortable sex comedy The Overnight.

Emily and Alex (Taylor Schilling and Adam Scott, respectively) recently relocated from Seattle to LA, and while their youngster RJ has a birthday party to attend that will help him make friends, they are still feeling a little isolated and friendless. That is, until uber-hipster Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) approaches them at the park after his son befriends theirs.

The kids hit it off, the parents hit it off, and Kurt invites the whole gang back to his place for an impromptu pizza party. What could be better? Go spend 24 hours with your neighbors and see how weird it gets.

Schwartzman is spot on perfection, as is often the case, with the smarmy but likeable but maybe creepy but kind of awesome Kurt. Few if any can hit these notes of self-parody caricature and earnest vulnerability quite this well.

Scott, as the tightly wound, trying-too-hard straight man to Schwartzman’s nut is equally impressive. Luckily, it’s not just odd couple schtick the two are after, though. They, as well as Schilling and Judith Godreche, as Kurt’s wife Charlotte, toggle nicely between broad comedy and precise, insightful characterization.

Like a less precious, more contemporary Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, The Overnight flirts with the idea of partner swapping as a way to explore more: personal insecurities, relationships, love, commitment, boredom, and breast pump fetishists.

Although you always have the sense of where things are going, there’s a surprise in nearly every scene. Not every one pays off, but most of them land with a laugh and maybe an awkward shudder. Though writer/director Patrick Brice mines the embarrassing situation on a near-Noah Baumbach level, his film is compassionate. He gives his four performers room to breathe, sometimes hold their breath, but they’re able to be mortified and vulnerable simultaneously.

The Overnight is a perceptive if bawdy comedy directed with nuance for laughs and resonance. Brice can’t nail the tone consistently enough, the overarching tale leans too heavily on giddy expectation, and the female characters are not given enough chance to evolve, but that hardly sinks this ship. Schwartzman and Scott are an inspired pairing and the film is a nice, adult minded comedy to offset the summer’s blockbuster glut.

Verdict-3-5-Stars