The darkish comedy "Afternoon Delight" gives the talented
The first-time director, an experienced writer-producer whose TV credits include "Six Feet Under," persuasively zeros in on a culture of privilege in Silver Lake, where stay-at-home moms require nannies. Thirtysomething Rachel struggles with a wobbly sense of identity, well expressed in the opening carwash sequence: While her minivan is on the conveyor belt, she tries out the passenger seat and back seat as though testing possible new selves.
The self she chooses, for a while, is stalker/rescuer of a stripper named McKenna (
Soloway tosses around compelling questions about women's lives, too often falling back on shrill comedy. Jane Lynch is spot-on as a quintessentially passive-aggressive psychotherapist, but her sharp sequences lapse into farce, just as complications on Rachel's home front resolve unconvincingly. Aiming to discomfort, the film ends up retreating.
MPAA rating: R for strong, sometimes graphic, sexual content, language and some drug use.
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes.
Playing: At the Landmark, West Los Angeles.