HOLLYSHORTS 2020 FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW! With age come responsibilities, such as mortgages and children, as those carefree days of behaving like twenty-somethings are now in the rearview mirror. But every now and then, it does the soul some good to tap into one’s inner child, even if it’s only to confirm that the soul just wants to go home and go to bed.
This is the life crisis facing new parents Kevin (Kevin Alejandro) and Lesley (Lesley-Ann Brandt) in the mildly intelligent short, Adult Night. Not much backstory is provided, but it is evident that this hip couple is starving to reclaim the self-indulgence of their youth. As Kevin and Lesley settle into the staid routines of parenthood, the spark diminishes from their love lives.
In an effort to spring back into action, they dip their toes, among other body parts, into the swinger lifestyle, with predictably wacky results.
The majority of Adult Night is set in the bathroom of a swinger’s club as Kevin and Lesley work through their respective boundary issues and the insecurities that accompany watching your spouse hook up with a stranger. Much of their dilemma rings true; in a situation such as this, explicit guidelines about who is to do what with whom and who is to put what where are critical.
Rather than astutely exploring the story’s personal implications, co-directors Kevin and Leslie Alejandro (billed as Los Alejandros) opt for immaturity and frenzy. Alejandro and Brandt spew forth their dialogue in a constant state of breathlessness, finding their words between gasps for air. Adult Night mistakes their excitable panting for energy as the two never calm down.
“…Kevin and Lesley…dip their toes, among other body parts, into the swinger lifestyle…”
Also, a large chunk of the midsection is focused on scatological humor that only a five-year-old would find humorous. A similar scenario in Bridesmaids worked because of the camaraderie among the titular women, showcased during the outlandish depiction of the event. Audience goodwill had accumulated towards those characters, which helped the moment to read as funny. Adult Night’s only motivation, it seems, is to elicit cheap laughs.
Discussions concerning the transition from devil-may-care young adults to the more restrictive considerations of parenthood may be better served in a feature-length film where these topics can be thoroughly explored with nuance. In a 10-minute short, there isn’t enough time to articulate the points with clarity and to provide an entertaining story at the same time. So, such as the case with Adult Night, the urge for entertainment takes over in the form of lowbrow humor.
Still, Adult Night is stylish and amusing in spurts. Alejandro and Brandt constitute an appealing couple if you remove some of the mania and hyperactivity in their performances. I would love to watch both actors in a more carefully constructed story.
In my experience, recapturing youth’s insanity is a romantic thought that crosses every adult’s mind at one point or another. I can only imagine that this compulsion is more intense once parental responsibilities thrust a whole new set of priorities on the person. Adult Night is a friendly reminder that even though the reckless youth in us may yearn for the lost days of wanton carousing, our responsible adult sensibilities ultimately win the day.
Adult Night screened at the 2020 Hollyshorts Film Festival.
"…recapturing youth's insanity is a romantic thought that crosses every adult's mind at one point..."