Director: Max Nichols
Cast: Miles Teller, Analeigh Tipton, Michael Showalter
Watch Two Night Stand online in the UK: Netflix UK / TalkTalk TV / iTunes / Sky Store / Rakuten TV / Google Play
Released on the back of co-star Miles Teller’s success with Whiplash, Two Night Stand is the directorial debut of Max Nichols, who has some rather large shoes to fill, since his late father’s (Mike Nichols) debut was The Graduate. Essentially a two-handed romance that’s firmly grounded in the 21st century, the film swings wildly between astute, smartly written moments and painfully contrived romcom nonsense, but the chemistry between the two leads is charming enough to make it worth your while.
Analeigh Tipton stars as Megan, a New York slacker who decides to get over her recent break-up by hooking up with a random stranger off the internets. Striking it lucky straight away, she schleps over to Brooklyn from the East Village and spends the night with Alec (Miles Teller), a young man who seems to want the same, no-strings encounter that she does.
However, when Megan tries to sneak away the next morning, she discovers that a freak snowstorm has trapped her in Alec’s apartment, forcing them to spend the next 24 hours together. To make matters worse, Alec makes an ill-advised comment that gets the day off to a decidedly rocky start. Will romance blossom between them or will they spend the whole time sulking and arguing?
Okay, so there are no prizes for guessing where this is heading, but to writer Mark Hammer’s credit, Two Night Stand does pull off at least one unexpected plot twist along the way and the various stages involved in the two characters gradually falling in love are nicely handled. The film steps up a notch in the middle section, where the pair decide to have an honest conversation and give each other tips on improving their sexual performance, on the grounds that they will probably never meet again. In different hands, this could have been excruciating, but the screenplay strikes exactly the right note, tapping into a running theme about the importance of communication in relationships.
Graduating to lead roles after strong supporting performances in Crazy Stupid Love and Damsels in Distress, Tipton makes an extremely appealing lead, generating strong chemistry with Teller and portraying Megan as someone who’s smart, funny and independent, even if she’s currently undergoing something of a crisis of direction. She also gets to show off some adorably goofy dance moves. Teller is equally good, investing Alec with the familiar laid-back, cocky charm of his emerging screen persona, but also revealing something more vulnerable underneath.
The main problem is that having pulled off a surprisingly mature and open look at modern relationships in the main section, the film falls back on cringe-inducing and largely unconvincing rom-com contrivances for the final act, although at least there are some unexpectedly beautiful shots of snowy New York to look at as a distraction. The film is on much stronger ground when it’s essentially just a two-hander at Alec’s apartment.
Two Night Stand is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription.
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