I love sleepers. That's not a pun. I'm talking about films that you've never heard of that take you by surprise. Such was the case with this film, written and directed by Leslye Headland.
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 63% - WHAT?!?
Oh wait, that's right! The film dared to mix softly played SNL style campy with some rather courageous storytelling. Dang those labels! Be one or the other! Ok, fine, so it won't end up doing a two-step with Oscar.
But that's the joy of this little treasure. It doesn't try to walk the red carpet. It stands alone, just as it is. Then it softly whispers in your ear- we're all kind of a mess. And by the way, sex is awesome but maybe there's more to life.
Sex Is Awesome! But ...
I mean seriously, as inventions go, SEX tops the list. But here's the thing. It requires human beings and what the hell are we going to do with that? I think that is the fundamental question this movie explores.
How do we, as human beings, make sex and life and relationships work? When, you know, we're like, human and messy.
Sure, some of the characters (Amanda Peet's, for example), were more sacrificial lambs than actual characters. The movie was not crafted to inspire much investment with the support cast. Which is why I gave it a 7.5
But really, who cares? I wanted to give it a much higher score. And here is why.
It's An Incredibly Honest Film
In spite of it's flaws and all but ignoring the support cast, it SHINES when it comes to the parallel journies of Jake (Jason Sudeikis) and Lainey (Alison Brie). Like all films, it uses a device to anchor us and in this case, that common denominator is sex.
Maybe that's why it scored somewhat low on Rotten Tomatoes. The sex wasn't all that great, cinematically speaking. And being the film's marketing sold it as a piece about sex in the "Tinder" age, audience expectations could have been off.
But make no mistake, while the campy moments offer comedic relief, this is a hard-hitting piece in some spots. Nothing is held back during brief but poignant moments where Jake and Lainey face their demons.
I think that what I love most about the piece, it's subtly. It's a comedy that dares you think and feel. It's a comedy that takes on some heavy questions about life and lifestyle and yet, you would never know that's happening.
Nobody Likes Tidy Little Packages
We don't! We want something new. We want the ending we didn't see coming. And that's unfortunate. Something doesn't need to be "Schindler's List" to touch my heart (or yours) and make me think.
Is this a perfect movie? No. But is it a well done sleeper that asks some powerful questions? Yes, it is. In spades.