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Odd release schedule is most interesting thing about ‘Overnight’

G.W. Clift

By A Contributor

The producers of the movie “Overnight” have an interesting distribution idea. They are sending it out to theaters in Miami, in Seattle, and to our local twelveplex. This is an unconventional approach to promote a movie that may require a customized promotion package.

Written and directed by Valerie Breiman, “Overnight” features James D’Arcy and Anthony LaPaglia in a set of three “Love American Style” type stories all taking place on a late night Los Angeles to New York airline flight.

One story is about two romantic incompetents, Jenny (Rachel Blanchard) and the Professor (D’Arcy), who meet in an airport bookshop. He maneuvers his seatmate, a dog-carrying rap star, back to her seat in Coach, explaining that the seat exchange is consistent with the necklace-wearing fellow’s attempt to prove he can live just like regular people.

The rapper then takes Jenny’s place next to two middle-eastern-looking fellows whose appearances scare the other passengers. One of them keeps intruding on the rapper until after the poor fellow mistakenly flushes his beloved canine down an aircraft toilet. Then Mohammed becomes the rapper’s guru, counseling poise and confessing that he and his male companion were just married the day before.

The aircraft staff provide the third story, though the stewardesses drinking and performance of one of the rapper’s numbers (about a specific sex act) doesn’t seem to move things along much. No, the other story is in the cockpit where the pilot (LaPaglia) is quarreling via cell phone with his wife. The co-pilot, a younger man who carries a portrait of Jesus and a Bible with him, recommends poise and confesses his own virginity.

Do you sense a parallel there?

Meanwhile Jenny and the Professor are talking, not with any apparent direction to their discourse. They soon duck into a wash room together to join the mile high club. And then they chat some more, they fall out over his attentions to a flight attendant, and they part. Has the movie given us any reason to believe there is a future in their acquaintance?

Or, maybe more to the point, has this romantic comedy given us any laughs? Well, LaPaglia and Gbenga Akinnagbe (who plays the rapper) each glow a tad hotter than the other characters, and each of them is involved in at least one funny moment. While the dog flushing was no surprise, it was filmed well. 

And I didn’t find myself repulsed by anything much here—well, maybe by the stewardess’s rap song. And I did continue to feel an interest in what was going forward throughout. But, then, the film is pretty short.

The camera people have some trouble filming Blanchard and the long faced D’Arcy. They can both act. But in “Overnight” the audience may be distracted from their character building to their appearances. He always looks hazy. She looks like three different people depending on how the camera and lighting are set up.

The stories aren’t tremendously imaginative and the central one, about Jenny and the string particle boy, doesn’t seem to develop. And the physical limitations of the plane set make even the brief action we get seem a touch claustrophobic.

No. It may be that the most interesting thing about “Overnight” is the current release schedule. And though I’ve tried to, I can’t figure out what the producers are trying to accomplish with it.

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