Review: All Nighter

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

All Nighter movie review JK Simmons Emile Hirsch Analeigh Tipton

PLOT: When his daughter goes missing, her steely father teams up with her loser ex-boyfriend to find her.

REVIEW: Imagine if MEET THE PARENTS eliminated everyone but De Niro and Stiller, took place in L.A. predominantly over the course of a single night and you'll have a very good idea of what ALL NIGHTER is all about. It's a perfectly acceptable comedy that entertains primarily because of its two leads. Plot-wise it doesn't offer anything incredibly new, it's not exactly uproarious, and it'll likely be forgotten mere hours after you've seen it. But, while it's playing in front of you, it proves to be a diversion that falls into the category of "decent." Not a rave, of course, but this isn't a movie that inspires passionate feelings either way.

In an amusingly tense prologue, cute young couple Martin (Emile Hirsch) and Ginnie (Analeigh Tipton) arrive at a restaurant to have dinner with Frank (J.K. Simmons), Ginnie's stern, humorless father. It's immediately clear Martin won't be Frank's kind of guy: a laid-back musician who isn't exactly the focused and upstanding sort you can imagine Frank preferring. The dinner does not start well, thanks to Martin's nervous fumbling and Frank's interrogating, but we're taken out of it before things get really awkward and pushed "six months later…"

All Nighter movie review JK Simmons Emile Hirsch Analeigh Tipton

Things aren't looking up for Martin. He and Ginnie have broken up, he now lives with an obnoxious stoner roommate (Jon Daly) and he's considering breaking up with his bluegrass band, the only thing he really gets out of bed for. Out of nowhere, Frank shows up on his door, looking for his daughter. As it has been a long time since either of them have spoken to her, neither knows where she is. Martin still carries a torch for Ginnie, and Frank is increasingly concerned about her whereabouts, so the two venture off in search for her. From there they meet an assortment of weird L.A. types, from stoners (Taran Killam in an enjoyable supporting role) to douchebag club-goers to drunk girls and their angry boyfriends, etc. Each new encounter brings them one step closer to Ginnie, and along the way they learn to appreciate each other's company, despite their glaring differences.

Not much in the way of surprises or plot twists to be found here; nor is the ultimate revelation of Ginnie's whereabouts particularly interesting. The movie's entertainment value largely hinges on the chemistry between Simmons and Hirsch, and on that front it mostly works. Simmons is doing a variation of his WHIPLASH character – not nearly as aggressive, but still intense and sardonic to intimidating extremes – while Hirsch is very amiable as a good-natured ne'er-do-well. The arc of their relationship is thoroughly predictable – do you really wonder if they'll come to understand and respect one another? – but since both actors are such likable presences, it's fun to experience some of the highs and lows of their time together.

The main problem with ALL NIGHTER is that most of the situations Frank and Martin find themselves in are rather forgettable. No one is asking for the heights of lunacy offered by a film like THE HANGOVER or even a sordid look at L.A. in the vein of COLLATERAL, but the script by Seth Owen often seems determined not to make things too exciting. Most of the time, Martin and Frank are simply wandering around, talking to people, and getting in the occasional scuffle. Had the screenplay thought of a few more interesting scenarios for the duo to confront, the overall picture might leave a noteworthy impression. As it is, ALL NIGHTER is undeniably watchable thanks to Simmons and Hirsch… and that’s about all the praise you can give it.

All Nighter



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About the Author

Eric Walkuski is a longtime writer, critic, and reporter for He's been a contributor for over 15 years, having written dozens of reviews and hundreds of news articles for the site. In addition, he's conducted almost 100 interviews as JoBlo's New York correspondent.