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TWO NIGHT STAND

February 13, 2015

Film + EntertainmentReview | by Francesco Cerniglia


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Two Night Stand is an endearing rom-com and feature debut for both director Max Nichols and screenwriter Mark Hammer. It tells the story of Alec (Miles Teller) and Megan (Analeigh Tipton), two down on their luck twenty-something New Yorkers who meet up for a one night stand after chatting online and end up getting trapped together following a sudden blizzard.

Megan is the typical quirky, attractive young woman who, in the mysterious world of film, seems to be having no luck with men and is unemployed and sponging off her roommate/friend. The two main characters hook up together, have a falling out, and are then forced to spend more time together due to circumstances out of their control and slowly but surely romance blossoms. The list goes on, and so in many ways Two Night Stand is your standard ‘indie’ comedy. However, what writer Hammer does manage to do is create two extremely lovable central characters, and a story and script filled with genuinely funny, sweet and even surprising moments. So whilst perhaps unoriginal, Two Night Stand is a rather fine example of its genre.

This is helped further by the core cast of Teller and Tipton, who do an excellent job of portraying the awkwardness of meeting someone new whilst also getting across the excitement and intimacy of getting to know all the secret stories and thoughts of someone for the first time. The way that Megan and Alec’s relationship develops from strangers, to enemies, to friends, to more, always transitions well and in a believable manner. These two young actors are also a large part of why the humour in the film works so well. It is one thing to write a funny script, but another entirely to find the right cast to get the jokes across in the desired manner. Both do a very good job in this respect, and Teller in particular delivers his lines with a deftness and wryness belying his age. Even once the main plot twist comes around, which places Alec in a much more negative light, the character remains somehow likeable due to Teller’s charming mannerisms and dry delivery.

It is also this plot twist that further helps Two Night Stand to stick out slightly from the standard quirky, ‘indie’ rom-com. In most films of this nature, the twist or difficulties that the couple will face can be seen coming a mile off. In this instance though it comes straight out of left field and is genuinely surprising, especially given how the characters have seemed up until that point. Yet despite coming almost from nowhere, it does make sense and is perfectly believable. The twist also lends itself quite nicely to making the point that there are risks involved when it comes to online dating beyond the obvious ‘psycho’ scenario. It shows that no matter how nice or genuine someone might seem they may always have secrets and ulterior motives that can be all too easily hidden, whether they are large or small.

In contrast to all these highlights is Nichols’ direction, which is a little uninspired. That is not to say it’s bad, with all shots being perfectly well framed and lit and so forth, but there is nothing much that stands out. This is particularly disappointing as the opening credits are rather well handled, showing us close-up shots of Megan creating her online dating profile, and what she writes instantly gives us an idea of her as a person. This insight into the online dating world, and the way in which we present ourselves therein, is intriguing but is something which unfortunately remains largely untouched for the rest of the film.

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From a stylistic perspective though, one thing that does compliment Two Night Stand very well is its soundtrack, which is based mainly around relatively unknown indie music. Given the film genre this is perhaps not the most unexpected musical style to be used, but each song seems to have been carefully selected to fit the mood rather well. They all compliment their scenes nicely without ever becoming overbearing or making the viewer feel like their heartstrings are being deliberately tugged at. It is always surprising just how much of an effect music can have on a film and Two Night Stand gets it spot on.

Overall then, whilst it may not be one of the most original films within its genre, Two Night Stand is one of the better. Hammer has created an exceedingly endearing, funny and surprising script with two lead actors to compliment it nicely. For those out there looking for a Valentine’s date idea Two Night Stand is definitely worth a look. And with a genuinely sweet and sensual sex scene to boot, it will probably set you up well for the night ahead too.

Two Night Stand is available on DVD and Digital Download from March 23rd

Jon Heywood