Two Night Stand (2014)
Director: Max Nichols
Screenwriter: Mark Hammer
Starring: Lio Tipton, Miles Teller
Max Nichols’ debut feature Two Night Stand, an independent rom-com centred around the sexual exploits of two twenty-somethings, should be a popular choice on film streaming websites (official ones of course) given that one of its stars is Whiplash and Divergent actor Miles Teller. Fans of the up and coming artist will be pleased to discover that he plays a prominent role as one half of the casual relationship portrayed, alongside Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) and Lucy (2014) actor Lio Tipton, in the on-screen narrative that spans over a 48-hour time period and opens itself up for a lot of character exploration.
The biggest criticism that could be thrown at Two Night Stand is that it didn’t quite take advantage of the scenario it created for itself. With such a narrow field of exploration – 48 hours in the life of two characters – it would be expected that character development and dialogue would be vital to the success of the picture, when that really wasn’t the case. With an 84 minute run-time, it’s perhaps understandable that parts of the plot felt rushed – such as the climax (pardon the pun) – and that deeper questions regarding the meaning of love and relationships were only marginally explored, leaving the film lacking in terms of technical achievement or any profound connection. That’s not to dismiss what the film did do well however, as Two Night Stand was both funny and contemporary, with incredibly relatable themes for any viewer in their early 20s, including the troubles of online dating and not knowing where you are (or are heading) in life.
Miles Teller and Lio Tipton were generally well received by the public for their performances. Two Night Stand works well as a presentation and exploration of the talents of its lead actors, something that increases the connectivity of the picture to the general audience. Each of their performances were inviting and realistic, which created this sense of connection, yet the filmmakers restricted themselves from capitalising on that by emphasizing parts of the written material that worked to separate us from reality – such as a page from a magazine blocking the lavatory – and long breaks between plot developments that were more useful in presenting feelings of irritation than laughter or fulfilment. That’s not to say that it wasn’t funny, or even enjoyable, because it was both, with the strong emphasis towards the types of themes and humour of the so-called “lost generation” of 20-somethings who have left college/university with little to show for it being a key selling point.
Overall, Two Night Stand was lukewarm, which is pretty good for a modern rom-com. It was marginally original and well cast, with some laugh out loud moments and enough of a connection to the contemporary rom-com market (young adults) to deem it a success.