There’s a snowstorm about to hit New York City as 40-year-old Max Nichols’ debut feature begins its excursion into the hookup mentality of today’s twenty-somethings. Those flakes are the least boring part of a film that will test any audience’s patience for a wintry landscape littered with underdeveloped rom-coms.
Not all kids of comedy royalty–—Mike Nichols is the director’s father–—can follow in a parent’s illustrious footsteps. Nichols père directed his first feature in his mid-thirties, the Oscar-winning “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Sadly, lightning won’t strike twice in their household. In fact, it’s left the building entirely.
“Two Night Stand” is also the first produced screenplay by Mark Hammer (also an executive producer on the film). In 2011, it was placed on the Black List, which compiles the best unproduced screenplays as selected by movers and shakers in Hollywood. In 2014, it lands on my worst-of-the-year list.
Megan, an unemployed, insecure NYC East Villager is depressingly eager for a casual roll in the hay. She puts up a profile on a dating service website, hopefully making her appear not too desperate, yet she’s quickly locking loins in a Brooklyn apartment with mrnovember a.k.a. Alec, a nice, sensitive, funny guy who practices safe sex. As dawn breaks, Megan attempts to head back to Manhattan, but the white out has made that impossible. Forced to be in each other’s company, they spend their time trying to figure each other’s approach to life, sex, etc.
They dally in pot, ping-pong and cutting out paper snowflakes. They break into his neighbor’s apartment in a Mission: Impossible sequence that aims for laughs but ends up with ughs. The rest of the movie becomes a two-character talkfest, and brings forth little charm as played out by Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton. They pick apart each other’s foibles/theories regarding sexy undressing, lovemaking, and g-spots. Cute? Barely. Entertaining? Nope. Not even when they make a concerted attempt to rectify the problems they have been discussing.
Teller, who was marvelous in last year’s “The Spectacular Now,” has misfired in “That Awkward Moment” and “Project X.” Next up, with a lot of buzz, is “Whiplash,” winner of the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Tipton (“Crazy, Stupid Love,” “Warm Bodies“) is adequate without being memorable. Barely registering are the two underwritten supporting roles of Megan’s roommate Faiza (Jessica Szohr) and her boyfriend Cedric (Scott Mescudi).
“Two Night Stand” takes place between Christmas and New Year’s, but there’s no holiday mirth to cheer about here.