Girls’ Night In is an indie comedy directed and written by Emmett Loverde. The story revolves around three best friends whose relationship is tested after a comment causes friction. The movie offers an accessible exploration of friendship and feminism while working within the bounds of a quirky, feel-good comedy.
Jessica (Tiana Tuttle) is a self-proclaimed beauty working as a receptionist, while Lynette (Alexis Phillips) is considered the intelligent one, having earned a Ph.D., and Candace (Samantha Skelton) is pleasant and has a big personality. Every month, the three of them get together to drink, eat, and talk about what’s happening in their lives. Lynette and Jessica are thrown for a loop when Candace reveals she’s pregnant. After a few off-color comments regarding the baby’s arrival, Lynette and Jessica could not be more excited for Candace.
The excitement is halted when Jessica makes a hurtful comment stating that she is the pretty one, Lynette the smart one, and Candace the zestful one. Jessica feels like she said nothing wrong, which causes the women to reflect on their friendship and insecurities. Flashbacks show how the three of them have always been defined by the qualities that Jessica pointed out.
“…thrown for a loop when Candace reveals she’s pregnant.”
Despite some hokey dialogue and the occasional stiff delivery present in Girls’ Night In, the three women give decent performances. Tuttle delivers most of the comedic dialogue convincingly. Skelton is enjoyably peppy, while Loverde ensures that the characters are flawed like any human but capable of redemption and growth. The fight that threatens the friendship is not overly dramatic or solemn. Still, it allows these characters to have some breathing room to wander out of their comfort zone, warranting further examination into why they decided to stray from their path.
The majority of the film follows Jessica, Lynette, and Candace in a single setting: an apartment. This wouldn’t be a problem if more craft and detail went into making it more absorbing and lively. The energy of the performances and dialogue are not compatible with the dullness of the setting. Plus, the shoddy editing frequently takes away from the humor, but the performances keep things generally amusing. So, while issues arise throughout, as a comedy, the movie is somewhat endearing and entertaining.
Contrary to what the plot of Girls’ Night In suggests, the characterizations are not built on stereotypes. However, it takes some time before the three women come together to refute Jessica’s stereotypical beliefs. That being said, once they do, the actors are more comfortable with each other, and their line delivery improves. Interwoven is an interview with Maddie (Samantha Elizabeth Johnson), Candace’s full-grown daughter. Maddie’s sporadic narration is a refreshing element that works until the end when her presence welcomes too much artificiality. The film sooner or later bolsters more feminist views of women, which, while predictable, succeeds in restoring confidence in the characters and viewers.
Through situational comedy and feel-good drama, Girls’ Night In sends positive messages of womanhood without alienating any viewer or character. Despite the technical hiccups which hinder its efficiency, there’s enough enjoyment to be had staying in for the night with these three best friends.
"…endearing and entertaining."