Written for RAF News Feb 2015
Opening to what is sure to be the trope of contemporary rom-coms, Two Night Stand begins with Megan (Analeigh Tipton) creating an online dating profile – filled with every hesitation, deliberation and embellishment.
Megan, the low-key manic pixie, has just broken off her engagement with her high-school sweetheart, and after graduating finds herself doing nothing – bumming around the apartment to the behest of her roommate. Following another tale of a twentysomething graduate starved of ambition and not knowing what to do with herself, just as Kiera Knightley’s Megan in the recent Say When (serious), this Megan isn’t so much looking for meaning in life as a one night stand to get back on the horse.
The eventual winner of this no-strings agreement is Alec (Miles Teller): a sardonic stoner who manages to offend his lucky catch as soon they wake in his Brooklyn apartment the morning after. But when she tries to make an exit and storm off, it appears that they have been snowed in by a freak blizzard and so must stay put and bask in the awkwardness of this forced situation.
Unfortunately so must we as the audience – with awkwardness that isn’t always intentional. Two Night Stand definitely reaches for comedy over creating chemistry between its characters, and so the intimate scenes feel out of place with a whiplash of tone change – especially when the cheesy clinking music cuts short and leaves you with enough silence to hear Alec breathing. There are some laughs throughout but the match of this big eyed, elfin, beauty with the dry and cooly distant Alec plays out just as you would expect… with utter convenience. There are some laughs throughout and it has a cutesy charm that keeps you entertained, but it is largely inoffensive and forgettable at that.
A couple of notes:
There was something quite jarring about this film that I couldn’t quite put my finger on at the time. It met it’s indie-film-quota before the titles and yet it looked all shiny and clean. It seemed that this polish revealed which parts were just cheap, tacky plastic…
The roommate and her boyfriend were cringe-worthy awkward with no charm or believability. They felt like glossy, unapologetic devices for the story. The sound design clashed with the images as sound levels veered wildly and the awful demo-music samples didn’t even last as long as the scenes. At one point Megan’s nose stud jumps nostrils while in a side profile close-up.. whilst her face fills most of the screen. These little mistakes were amplified by the look and feel of the thing.
Maybe Dan Harmon’s right when he says that romance is a condiment for a story, not the meal itself.