Two Night Stand takes the boy wins girl/boy loses girl formula, gives it a millennial spin and then lets its stars, Miles Teller and Analeigh Tipton charm the pants off us as they rip the pants off each other.
Genuinely fresh and cute, refreshingly forthright and even sexy – most sex comedies, let’s face it, aren’t – its simple two hander story sees Tipton’s sofa-surfing slacker having rebound sex with stoner Teller, then attempting to sneak away from his place in the early hours, only to find they’re snowed in together. Which is embarrassing considering the “fuck you, too” farewells they’ve just been bidding each other.
And that’s it: a boy, a girl, a confined space and a simmering row that’s going to wheel – this, surely can’t be a spoiler – through 180 degrees over the coming 90 minutes. Ah, the 90 minute movie, remember them?
It helps enormously that the boy is Miles Teller, the stealth star who has suddenly cornered the attractive average guy market in a series of films – The Spectacular Now and Whiplash most recently. As for Analeigh Tipton, more of an unknown quantity, physically in that Emma Stone/Aubrey Plaza territory, the attractive average girl (Hollywood average being a good leap above average average – Tipton is a former model so let’s not get too disconnected from reality). She’s also got a Mary Tyler Moore coathanger mouth, something of her glass-etching whine, as well as MTM’s spitfire comic timing.
Though very little that Teller and Tipton talk about after their first and supposedly only night of sex would have made it onto any show Moore was associated with – masturbation, faking orgasm, the ideal thrusting speed to get a girl off, kind of thing. All done with a surprising innocence, because it’s honest, the characters are unusually non-aspirational (he has an impassioned mini-speech against the concept of enjoying your job) and the two actors are just so likeable. And here they are in their very own romcom, so these two actors have also clearly arrived.
Most notable about the film is the amount of agency it gives to the Tipton – it’s she who looks for a one-night stand and finds a hook-up, it’s she who’s trying to sneak away the next morning (generally a boy’s trick), it’s she who taunts Teller with his sexual inadequacies and it’s she who later calls him out when he’s giving her “googly eyes”.
It’s modern, in other words, but lean, smart, funny and touching too. You want boy to meet girl and stay with her. You’re aware that the obstructions in the way are genre obstructions but you banish that evil thought from your mind and surrender to the emotional logic of Mark Hammer’s screenplay – did I imagine it was faintly reminiscent of Breakfast at Tiffany’s? or that Hammer might also have seen Andrew Haigh’s fabulous romcom Weekend, which had a similar boiler-room premise? If they are blueprints then Hammer has digested and then moved on, his script never bending itself into unlikely shapes to get where it’s got to go. Two Night Stand is obviously going to be a big hit and, thankfully, it looks sequel-proof. So no Two Night Stand Two.
© Steve Morrissey 2015