Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Two Night Stand (2014) [R] ***

A film review by Sara Stewart, for, on Sept. 24, 2014.

The considerable charms of Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton elevate this middling rom-com, in which a simple hookup turns into a lengthy hangout during a New York blizzard.

Megan (Tipton), unsure of herself after college graduation and a breakup, dips a toe into the online dating world with a Tinder-like site (I converse like a mother**ker! she brags on her profile) and ends up at the apartment of the genial Alec (Teller), who’s a pretty lucky find for a first-timer. When she attempts to sneak out in the morning, she finds the city’s snowed in — and so are they, together.

First-time director Max Nichols (son of Mike) wisely keeps the focus on the banter between the two, though he does allow for a few unremarkable high jinks, like the duo breaking into a neighbor’s apartment to borrow a toilet plunger.

Tipton has something of the young Meg Ryan about her — both in her vivaciousness and in her cartoonishly adorable features — but her character is inexplicably haughty, early on, about being trapped in the apartment with Alec.

The two actors work well together, though, once Megan’s able to let her guard down, thanks to Alec’s suggestion that they make the most of the snow day by smoking pot.

The screenplay, by Mark Hammer, feels theatrical in its intimate scope, and hits its stride when the two decide to critique each others’ sexual performance — and, by extension, a laundry list of each gender’s typical shortcomings in the bedroom. Their second tryst, with running commentary, is both funny and sexy.

I found myself wishing the conversation had gone on longer and gone a bit deeper; once the film sends Megan out into the world again, Two Night Stand wears thin, trotting out the rom-com clich├ęs you’ve seen time and again. There’s the weary singles New Years’ party, then the heartfelt declaration of feelings in front of a group of onlookers.

Jessica Szohr, as Faiza, Megan’s more polished roommate, and Scott Mescudi, as her boyfriend Cedric, manage to be the annoyingly in-love couple without being overly annoying, though they get very little screen time.

As a testament to the power of good old-fashioned face-to-face conversation as aphrodisiac, the film works fairly well, if not as a primer on safe online dating. Only in Hollywood is venturing to the apartment of a total stranger to spend the night a good idea. [Stewart’s rating: ** ½ out of 4]

The supporting cast includes Levin Rambin as Daisy, and Victor Cruz as a police officer.

Labels: comedy, romance

Blogger’s comment: I thought the romantic chemistry between Teller and Tipton was pretty good. I also enjoyed the observations about how men are visually-oriented (striptease during foreplay and lights on during sex), how women believe men are clueless about female reproductive anatomy, how men have to be subtly trained (different kinds of moans) to get it right, and how virtually every woman has faked orgasm at some time in every relationship. Another film in this vein is Better Than Sex (2000) starring David Wenham and Susie Porter. See my blog post for this one.

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