Movie Review: “Overnight”

ImageA confined space and mismatched characters forced together by their traveling conditions are the recipe for “Overnight,” a wan comedy about passengers on an overnight cross-country flight.

They’re all looking for love, or to hang onto love, or to justify their love.

And not just in the jetliner’s lavoratory.

Writer-director Valerie Breiman gives us Jenny (Rachel Blanchard of “Where the Truth Lies”), fresh from ending her bi-coastal romance with a guy who has a girlfriend on each coast. There’s Tom, the hip banjo-playing British physics professor (James D’Arcy of Madonna’s film “W.E.”) fleeing the west coast where his ex just won’t accept that she’s his ex.

Rude and perpetually grumpy TMJ (Gbenga Akinnagbe) is a rapper forced to fly commercial because he’s transporting a lap dog to his east coast girlfriend.

Amir (Maz Jobrani) and Mohammed (Mousa Kraish) are trying to not let all the airline profiling and fellow passenger profiling ruin their trip.

And Captain Brody, the pilot (Anthony LaPaglia) is managing an ongoing cell-phone rant with his about-to-leave-him wife, so wrapped up in his calls that he occasionally shares them over the aircraft’s public address system. His fundamentalist co-pilot (Tom Hodges) is no help.

“Maybe you should talk to Him about this.”

“Who.”

“Jesus.”

Breiman tosses these characters together and tries to set off sparks. Few do.

Jenny and Tom, who don’t share their names with each other, have a sort of instant-rebound courtship/romance that runs from flirtation to a shared bathroom break to break-up, with fights, betrayals and mistrust, all in one trip. They get together because the script demands that they do. There’s nothing organic about the connection.

TMJ, played in one sour note for much of the film, clashes with the Arab Americans. Stewardesses take bets on who will wind up in the lavatory, coupling. And most every character has a heartfelt confession — a moment that will change their story arc.

It’s all blandly predictable, with the occasional slight twist to interrupt our ability to stay three steps ahead of the plot. The twists let us stay two steps in front.

It all makes for a bland and dull if not entirely intolerable trip, one mercifully shorter than a real cross-country flight. Though not by much.

 

MPAA Rating:R for language and some sexual content

Cast: James D’Arcy, Rachel Blanchard, Anthony LaPaglia, Gbenga Akinnagbe

Credits: Written and directed by Valerie Breiman, a Phoenix Entertainment release.

Running time: 1:34

 

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