Night Owl Movie

Different barely scratches the surface and irreverent doesn’t cover it—Night Owls escapes the realm of expectations. Charles Hood continues to carve out a niche for himself as the new interpreter of classic movie framework with this, his fourth foray as director. Rosa Salazar, of Insurgent and The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials notoriety, and Adam Pally, who you may recognize from the passionately loved/now defunct series Happy Endings and most recently The Mindy Project , pair up to breathe life into one of the most contrived genres of film: the romantic comedy.

Kevin (Pally) and Madeline (Salazar) begin with the average millennial meet cute, also known as the one night stand. In the post coital glow, good guy Kevin is confronted with the notion that his date has not only swallowed a bottle of pills, but that she’s actually his boss’s ex-mistress.  Keeping Madeline alive will mean staying up all night; workaholic Kevin is in it for the long haul.  Though the supporting cast is small, their presence is mighty.  Rob Huebel (Children’s Hospital, The League) is on hand to put the pressure on Kevin as the boss’s head lackey.  It’s the brief scene featuring Tony Hale’s frank and hilarious portrayal as the last second-savior Dr. Newman that will launch every viewer into a spirited debate. Which is better: Hale’s infamous Blueth persona from Arrested Development or his award winning turn as Gary, the biggest bumbler nearest to the president on the critically acclaimed Veep? As Dr. Newman’s brief scene proves it really doesn’t matter how you get Hale, even if it’s just a tiny dose.

In an industry where everything falls into a certain category, Night Owls would have to be classified a romantic comedy. Though like any truly well put together film it crosses genre lines, with shades of drama fleshing out the script. Salazar sparkles as the woman in crisis, striking a bold comparison to her desperate actions at the start.  Bottle movies like this one thrive on a core cast that can distract viewers from the lack of change in scenery, a task this pairing vaults over. Madeline is obviously going through something, yet she emanates a certain amount of self-awareness that Pally’s Kevin lacks. That doesn’t mean she’s light handed with the comedic moments—Salazar commits to a harsh bit of physical comedy that nets the biggest belly laugh of the first half hour. Some might consider this dark humor, but those advanced degrees of macabre flavored wit give this something far more valuable: reality. Sometimes you meet someone normally and mundane life prevails. But in the actual world where it’s complicated accurately describes more romantic relationships than it should, every once and while you meet someone in the middle of a cluster of strategically placed and extremely wild dumpster fires called their life, and things happen anyway. Kevin starts off as the begrudging babysitter bristling from the sting of finding himself a minor player in a scorned woman’s revenge plot. As the night wears on Kevin’s role as the films straight man evolves as he plumbs deeper into Madeline’s life, opening up and sharing in the face of Madeline’s certain almost death. Watching Pally evoke the tones of a man at the midst of unknown impending self-realization adds another element to this already decidedly smart flick. As romantic comedies go, there are only a few possible resolutions. Luckily as Kevin and Madeline tumble towards an ending, you won’t care how it happens; you’ll just relish in the fact that you were there.