Two Night Stand
Cinematic tradition dictates that dialogue-heavy narratives are always a risky endeavour. For this to work, one must look at many 90s filmmakers like Kevin Smith, Richard Linklater and Steven Soderbergh, who all tackled the endlessly compelling and always refreshingly inventive world of human sexuality and relationships as prime examples. They all – notably Linklater’s Before trilogy – highlight that as each generation passes, new socio-cultural perspectives and definitions on what sex and love are develop. This is what the missed potential is in Max (son of the late Mike) Nichols’, directorial debut Two Night Stand.
Unemployed Megan (Angel Tipton) looks to the online world of dating for a one-night stand. There she meets Alec (Miles Teller). After their encounter, a snowstorm barricades them in his apartment complex where they unwillingly spend more time together. It is here they discuss their philosophies on life, views on sex and their past relationships.
If one can ignore such a contrived set-up one can always forgive if the dialogue and characters hint at originality. The grand saviours of this film are those sporadic and brief moments of clever dialogue. It hints at offering an interesting insight into contemporary youth: notably the frank discussion on sex that, in the realm of cinema at least, continues to evolve evocatively, as well as the characters’ perceptions of life expectations, which hint at an indictment of recession Generation Y-ers. But these moments cannot save this film from being a dull affair, due to the inconsistent character motivations. As such, the cultural critique falls short and appears false.
It is uncertain if Megan is supposed to be aloof or emotionally cold, and if Alec is supposed to be charmingly self-confident or arrogantly delusional. It could be argued that they’re meant to have both qualities to appear complex, but such is the rapid transition between these character motivations that they lack credibility and any believability.
In short, the whole film is underdeveloped. Two Night Stand is a missed opportunity to convey relationships in the digital, recession era. The film took a risk by focusing on dialogue rather than plot to carry the narrative and it unfortunately failed; such things are only possible if the characters are complex and the dialogue is packed with intelligence and wit, which this film lacks.
Two Night Stand is released nationwide on 13th February 2015.
Watch the trailer for Two Night Stand here: