Is there nothing in this world more tiresome than movies about supposedly wise beyond their years, quirky, white, directionless youth philosophizing about the nature of sex/life/interpersonal relationships? I sure as hell can’t think of anything. Retreading this well-worn ground seems to be a rite of passage for indie filmmakers, to the point where I think we should have a separate genre; a veritable landfill for the express purpose of sequestering both this genre and those who actively seek them out.
Anyway, Two Night Stand isn’t very good.
Two Night Stand
Director: Max Nichols
Release Date: September 26th, 2014
I first came to this realization when the film began its protracted flashback sequence, following newly single Megan’s (Analeigh Tipton) quest for some red-hot man meat. Tipton is doing her worst Emma Stone impression here, reminding the world why Emma Stone’s particular brand of quirk consistently works; it’s completely natural. Megan feels like an especially unfunny SNL character in search of a punchline. She gets high, starts to dance, and demands her sex partner look away, because if he watches her dance, he will fall in love with her. The following dance sequence is framed in such a way that suggests aforementioned sex partner is feeling the first pangs of True Love.
The flashback not only shows off how remarkably irritating the dialogue is, but also how much this movie loves its own god damn script. Two Night Stand opens with a fairly clever expository sequence of Megan setting up a dating site profile. (No Tinder? What is this, 2012?) It’s effective, and tells us just about everything we need to know about the character and her situation. When she hovers over the ‘relationship status’ checkbox, that moment of hesitation sets up just the right amount of intrigue, setting the stage for a potentially interesting scene later.
This cool idea goes totally unused, as the film proceeds to spend over 20 minutes telling the audience point-blank exactly what is going on with Megan in a sequence that must have been cribbed from an unused fall comedy pilot.
Eventually, we get to the film’s premise. Megan has completed her one-night stand with Alec (Miles Teller) and the morning after hasn’t gone all that well. She’d like to escape Alec’s Brooklyn apartment as soon as possible, but — Oh no! — New York has been covered in a The Day After Tomorrow-esque apocalyptic snowstorm. Instead of making plans to start doing something about global warming, Alec and Megan decide to hunker down in the apartment until the plows get working again.
Miles Teller is fairly entertaining as per usual, but I’m beginning to wonder if “lovable dick” isn’t just about all he can do. Although maybe ‘lovable’ is stretched a bit towards the end of the film, when Alec does something that any sane person would consider grounds for a restraining order. You know how this goes, it’s the end of the second act, the lovers have been separated (because that hasn’t been done a million times before), all seems lost, but then a grand romantic gesture is made! It’s like that, except replace “grand romantic gesture” with “potentially ruining someone’s life.”
The rest of the admittedly minimalist cast fills a role admirably. I can just imagine the conversation between these actors and their respective agents. The smart money is on “It’s not much, but it’s something” being a recurring phrase. Megan’s roommate Faiza (Jessica Szohr) is there just to move the plot along; Faiza’s boyfriend Cedric (Scott Mescudi) fills the same role, but with a nicer smile; Daisy (Leven Rambin) and Megan’s ex-fianceé are even lesser plot devices. Everything revolves around Alec and Megan, so the other characters feel more like arms of the screenwriter than real people.
When Two Night Stand isn’t jamming quirk down your throat like an artisanal cronut, it’s just boring. The aforementioned dancing scene didn’t register at the time, because it was astoundingly dull in a sea of tepid moments. I chuckled every so often, as is par for the course when Miles Teller is stuck with a mediocre script, but your brain will likely jump to life whenever something particularly stupid happens. There is one decent joke towards the end, where a loser straight out of Reddit’s deepest, darkest hole attempts to woo Megan, but that is the only point when the movie’s otherwise lifeless heart rate monitor reports a single beep.
From the snow, to the dialogue, to Alec’s bachelor pad, to the on-screen protagonists, everything about Two Night Stand is ridiculously white. I can only recommend this film if you’ve seen every other movie currently available twice and you will literally die if you do not enter a theater as soon as possible. Otherwise, why bother?