If the movies are to be believed, every one-night stand starts out with hot sex; degenerates into blatant hostility mixed with wacky humor; and ends with a genuine emotional connection. Such is the case with Charles Hood’s essentially two-hander comedy, Night Owls, whose single setting seems more ideally suited for the stage than screen.
The story begins with a hook-up after a banquet between hot bartender Madeline (Rosa Salazar) and nice guy Kevin (Adam Pally), who can’t believe his luck.
It’s a long night, but terrific performances make it go by quickly.
“You’re the hottest girl who’s ever shown an interest in me,” he tells her shortly before she jumps his bones in the suspiciously palatial home to which she’s brought him.
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But of course it’s too good to be true, as Kevin soon discovers that the house actually belongs to Madeline’s married ex-boyfriend, who also happens to be his boss, Will (Peter Krause), a revered college football coach. Even worse, he wakes up to find her passed out in the bathroom after having downed a bottle of pills.
Making an emergency call to his co-worker (Rob Huebel), Kevin is told to sit tight. Eventually the team’s doctor (Tony Hale, expertly comic as always) arrives and advises him to keep Madeline awake all night until things can be straightened out in the morning. (Considering how doctors can be sued at the drop of a hat, the instruction doesn’t exactly seem credible.)
Cue the emotional fireworks and physical mayhem, as Kevin, after suitably putting the woozy Madeline through her paces, plays baby sitter, much to the consternation of his fiery charge. Eventually a rapport of sorts is reached, and as the night passes the two engage in such activities as playing darts, taking a frigid dip in the pool, eating a dubious casserole, and exchanging the sort of witty, acerbic banter that is de rigueur for romantic comedies.
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That this artificial construct works at all is due to the incisive characterizations, sharply witty dialogue and engaging performances by Pally, a veteran of such sitcoms as Happy Endings and The Mindy Project, and Salazar, recently seen in Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. The latter is particularly good at delivering the sarcastic taunts that somehow make her character all the more appealing.
The film flirts with more serious themes, such as Kevin’s eyes-opened disillusionment with the coach who he’s long hero-worshipped. But it’s best appreciated as a fantasy scenario for guys who want to meet the hottest girls who’ve ever shown interest in them.
Production: Haven Entertainment
Distributors: FilmBuff, Orion Releasing
Cast: Adam Pally, Rosa Salazar, Tony Hale, Rob Huebel, Peter Krause
Director: Charles Hood
Screenwriters: Seth Goldsmith, Charles Hood
Producers: Toby Louie, Seth Goldsmith, Charles Hood
Executive producers: Mauricio Betancur, Brendan Bragg, Jesse Hara, Kevin Mann, Jordana Mollick
Director of photography: Adrian Correia
Production designer: Ayse Art
Editor: Grant Surmi
Composer: Kevin Blumenfeld
Not rated, 90 min.