Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New rom-com royalty: Miles Teller & Analeigh Tipton in Max Nichols' TWO NIGHT STAND

Regenerative as all hell, that's the rom-com for you. After making a surprise comeback via last month's oddball The One I Love, here it is again in an utterly beguiling delight that makes you feel as if the genre were brand new. TWO NIGHT STAND is the work of first-time, full-length director Max Nichols (who I'm told is the son of Mike), from a screenplay by first-time screenwriter Mark Hammer. The two have struck movie gold. This is as much due to Hammer's clever writing and Nichols' deft direction (the apple has not fallen far, it seems) as to the two actors cast in the leading roles: Miles Teller (of The Spectacular Now) and Analeigh Tipton (of Damsels in Distress). It is difficult to imagine two performers with better chemistry, charm and smarts to bring these roles to life.

Mr. Nichols, shown at left, has kept this sweet and funny tale of a one-night-stand, set up via Internet, rolling along with almost indecent speed and grace. It all feels very au courant, as well, dealing with the mores of today's dating crowd -- hook-ups, easy fucks and condoms at the ever-ready. For his part, Mr. Hammer sees to it that the dialog does not simply sparkle, it's also quite in-your-face funny and real. It doesn't mince. (The movie's R-rated, though I think it's a shame that middle teens can't see it.) The two actors are able to handle that dialog with ease, while moving from anger to humor and back again (often both simultane-ously), while making inter-mediate stops, too.

There is no young actor currently working who comes close to filling Mr. Teller's shoes. This guy, above, right, and below, is really special: beefy rather than buffed  but so comfortable with his body and brain that he comes across as utterly natural and very sexy, to boot. Every moment and movement seems effortless, but then, suddenly, when effort is called for, Teller rises mightily to the occasion.

Ms Tipton, below, bounces off Teller's disposition with remarkable agility. She's cute and sexy in her own way, but her character is needier (or so it initially seems) and not nearly as secure in herself. Yet the rapport the two eventually reach is so real and earned that it keeps the audience at one with the pair every step of their journey.

The relatively simple story involves a hook-up that, due to very inclement weather, must go on, and far beyond the "thanks for the nice night" note that the Tipton character plans to leave behind. That's basically it -- for the first two-thirds of the film.

In fact, the movie seems like it might simply play as a two-hander exercise, once the characters have met -- which we wouldn't mind, given the talent of this twosome. But Hammer has a surprise or two up his screenplay's sleeve and so there's more.

Fortunately, and again, thanks to the actors involved, the movie does not degenerate. Instead it plays out to become a genuine and quite lovely rom-com -- with all that this genre requires.

In the good supporting case are Jessica Szohr (above, left) as Tipton's roommate/friend, Scott Mescudi (above, right) as their other friend, and Leven Rambin (below, right) as a special someone. I don't want to overpraise what is simply a very fine example of a popular genre movie. So just go, relax, laugh and enjoy.

Two Night Stand -- from Entertainment One and running a sleek 86 minutes -- opens this Friday, September 26, theatrically in a limited release and then hits VOD the following Friday, October 3. At which theaters in which cities? Don't know, and the film's web site page has yet to give us any of this info. Keep clicking here in the days or hours to come, and perhaps it will let us know. And even if we don't find the theater listing, we all know how to access VOD, right?

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