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Review: The Layover

The Layover
08.29.2017
3 10

The Layover Kate Upton Alexandra Daddario William H Macy Matt Barr

PLOT: Two good friends meet a handsome stranger on a plane and proceed to irrationally fight over him during a layover in St. Louis.

REVIEW: THE LAYOVER is the kind of movie where you just really feel bad for the performers and want them to stop what they're doing and go home. It features a pretty charming cast overall, and most of them are asked to humiliate themselves in increasingly embarrassing and unfunny ways. Naturally, they agreed to star in the film, so they knew what they were getting into, but you still can't help but feel like they're hostages of their own bad decisions, flailing wildly in an attempt to give a movie without wit some kind of life.

The film is also disappointing because of who worked behind the scenes. Though it wears all the hallmarks of a movie made by a clueless newbie, it was helmed by William H. Macy, something I was continuously astonished by as the film lurched from insipid sequence to insipid sequence. Not only that, it was written by David Hornsby and Lance Krall, both writers on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, one of my favorite TV shows of all time (Hornsby is a frequent co-star as "Rickity Cricket"). If this movie ever had one tiny hint that it was made by talented people, it flew over my head; it wallows in lame physical and gross-out humor like a third-rate Farrelly Brothers knockoff.

The Layover Kate Upton Alexandra Daddario William H Macy Matt Barr

The plot is uninteresting and reductive: Two roommates who are down on their luck (Alexandra Daddario and Kate Upton) decide on a whim to flew to Florida to forget about all of their troubles. Along the way they find themselves sitting next to a random handsome guy (Matt Barr) who is on his way to a bachelor party. Both of these women - beautiful, supposedly smart - fall head over heels for the guy against all odds and immediately find themselves resorting to immature tactics in order to win his affection. When the group ends up stranded in St. Louis thanks to bad weather, the stakes are absurdly raised as the girls escalate their hunt in imbecilic fashion.

While a sitcom set-up, you could see a few possibilities emerging from this scenario... even if the writers haven't. Macy surprisingly doesn't show a very able hand at directing comedy, so much of the film is left feeling flat and unenthusiastic about its own storyline. An example of the movie's idea of funny: Early on, Kate Upton Upton chugs an entire bottle of Dr. Pepper in an airport while passersby (for some reason) stare on in shock. That's the whole bit. Later, she proceeds to burp a lot, and the burps evidently smell bad. Clearly, the conceit here is that Upton is so pretty that it will be automatically humorous when she does gross things. Indeed, much of Macy's film makes this mistake. If it were just two random dudes taking part in these shenanigans, no one would even care, but because it's two attractive women doing them, it is assumed we'll just find all of their mindless exploits amusing. This is the trouble with assumptions.

Upton will never be mistaken for a top-tier thespian, I don't think, but she's clearly a likable, charming screen presence, as is Daddario. No doubt both of them are game for just about anything, yet time and time again the movie squanders the opportunity to give them something worth doing. Slapstick comedy can be done well, of course, and an actor can get away with making an ass of themselves on screen and walk away feeling good about it if it's done skillfully, but both Daddario and Upton are painted into a shameful corner with material that concerns such daring ideas as what to do after falling into a poop-filled toilet.

The other glaring issue THE LAYOVER has is that its characters become increasingly obnoxious and unlikable. Both women do rather petty things, but Upton's character reveals herself to be a pretty bad person. She attempts to drug her friend multiple times, locks her in a disgusting bathroom, preys on her fear of heights, and more. It's all played for laughs, of course, but because the movie's not funny we have no choice but to sit in judgment of this dreadful person who is an objectively lousy friend. Daddario's character comes off a little better, as most of her assaults are of the verbal variety, but by the time the film's utterly lame finale rolls around we're kind of sick of her too.

You get the idea. THE LAYOVER was probably not destined for greatness at any point, but there could have been more to it than this lazy, time-wasting result. Everybody involved deserves better, most of all the audience.

Source: JoBlo.com

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