"The Overnight" is a kind of latter-day "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," but with a bit more envelope-pushing. Yet like that hit 1969 comedy, this engaging, funny and frank new film also proves something of a cop-out, especially given the bullet train of a narrative concocted by writer-director Patrick Brice.
Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) have recently moved from Seattle to L.A. for Emily's job; Alex is a stay-at-home dad to their toddler, R.J. (R.J. Hermes). One day at the park, Alex and Emily are chatted up by the jaunty Kurt (Jason Schwartzman), who invites the couple and R.J. over that night for pizza with Kurt, wife Charlotte (Judith Godrèche) and their small son, Max (Max Moritt). Eager to make friends, Alex and Emily agree.
Once dinner is over and the boys are put to bed upstairs, Kurt and the French-born Charlotte, both expert provocateurs, slowly reel in Alex and Emily for what's seemingly leading to a session of good old-fashioned swinging. But is it?
Booze, weed, anatomically inspired art, skinny-dipping, massages, penis-measuring (prosthetics were used), suggestive talk, handsy behavior, breast pump videos and more all amusingly factor in, with the confused Alex and Emily in approach-avoidance mode with the more free-spirited Kurt and Charlotte.
When the proverbial rubber does finally hit the road, the result is a bit twisty, largely credible and well played by the talented leads. Still, one wishes Brice gave the sexual deck a few more shuffles and probed even further into the couples' intriguing marital dynamics before the film's genial postscript.
MPAA rating: R for strong sexuality, graphic nudity, language, drug use.
Running time: 1 hour, 19 minutes.
Playing: ArcLight Hollywood; Landmark, West L.A.