********* 6 out of 10 *********
Director: Max Nichols
Actors: Miles Teller, Analeigh Tipton
Time and again one should step away from those big budget lavish films that Hollywood is always keen to attract us towards, and enter the realms of something simpler, smaller, and yet pleasant and enjoyable. The indie flicks, the ones with less of a marketing budget, the ones relying more on word-of-mouth, the ones where the quality of acting matters more as it cannot be hidden in the backdrop of grandiose sets. These indie flicks do not always equate to “great films that go unseen”; they too have the must-watch movies mixed with the forgettable ones. Two Night Stand is somewhere in the middle in this list. It has an engaging premise, a talented lead pairing, and a nice comfy romantic touch to it. But it disappoints at times for it does not elevate itself to something grander which it could have easily done; it lacks the sharpness and the quality of say something like Before Sunrise (I am drawing this comparison as both movies essentially rely a lot on the communication and conversations between the lead pair).
Two Night Stand is the story of Megan (Analeigh Tipton) and Alec (Miles Teller) who hook up for a one-night stand through an online dating site. Both are doing this for different personal reasons. When Megan is set to leave in the morning from Alec’s apartment, she faces a heavy blizzard that makes it impossible for her to get out. So now the duo are stuck together, much to their displeasure, but with time to kill, Megan and Alec are soon to learn a lot about each other, and with that, also about themselves.
Speaking of the positives, the movie’s plot is simple and sweet which works usually for a romantic tale. Two youngsters trapped together, hating each other initially as love gradually blossoms, is the kind of story many of us would not mind to be a part of in real life. It’s not mushy, nor overtly sentimental, and at times in fact, is quite mature in the way it handles different relationship issues, mainly sex. Mark Hammer is the man behind the story, and with little past writing experience in Hollywood, this comes across as a good beginning.
Just like any other romantic movie, the lead pairing has to have that chemistry to get you interested. Analeigh Tipton and Miles Teller make a cute couple, and also a more realistic one than the otherwise fantasy kinds. But you have to give them time to grow on you, not only as a couple, but also as individuals. I have to admit that I was looking forward to Miles Teller’s performance in this movie, the one with loads of potential and rising up the ranks, but it was Analeigh Tipton who steals the show. The movie is more about her character than Teller’s, and Tipton does full justice to Megan, the one who is unsure of where she is headed in life, but despite the uncertainties on top is headstrong underneath, and charming and funny too, which helps. Miles Teller has an easy approach to his character and while he seems a bit lazy early on, the character grows on you with time, and Teller as an actor grows on you too. While Megan – Alec do not bedazzle the way Hazel – Gus did in The Fault in Our Stars, they do have their moments, funny ones mostly and the bit dramatic ones too. Here are two actors still finding their feet in Hollywood, and could go a long way.
Coming to the negatives, the movie lacks the crispness which a simplistic story demands in order to call it spectacular. Take for example 12 Angry Men or Before Sunrise, both movies where the plot in itself was straightforward, but since they relied so heavily on the conversations, the dialogues were perfect to the very last word. As if someone had gone through them over and over again, refining it each time, till the coherence between one sentence and the next was perfect, till the flow of the movie was smooth, till there was not a single scene left which would cause the attention of the audience to falter. Two Night Stand could have been there, but while writer Mark Hammer and director Max Nichols do carve out moments which can be called exemplary, they are not able to maintain it over the runtime of the movie. The background score is also quite poor, and in fact, completely unnecessary most of the times. When there is an engaging and smart conversation going on, why does one need a random musical tone in the background?
All said and done, debutant director Max Nichols does manage to create an enjoyable movie which is fun and relaxed with lovable characters. It does deserve more than just a limited release. It may come across as something that could have been better, though that does not imply it ain’t worth a watch. Sometimes simpler movies like these are the ones that can light up your face in an otherwise chaotic day! Hoping for more.