Charles Hood’s Night Owls is a mostly satisfying two-hander that never quite lives up to its full potential.
Young go-getter Kevin (Adam Pally) hooks up with the lovely but self-destructive Madeline (Rosa Salazar), who takes him to what he thinks is her house but is in fact the home of the revered local college football coach, Kevin’s boss and Madeline’s former lover. Madeline overdoses on Xanax, and Kevin is tasked with keeping her awake and alive through the night.
At first threatening to be a Man vs. Floozy tale, the picture finds its heart when allowing Kevin and Madeline to open up, Breakfast Club–style, while also ruminating on the veneration accorded sports figures in small towns. Salazar holds her own in a frequently objectifying role (in addition to some gratuitous toplessness, she has to wear a dress that’s too tight and too short for far too much of the running time), while a cameo allows Tony Hale to display the sort of grit missing from his more famous roles.
Night Owls also wisely plays to the strengths of Pally’s developing persona, that of the bro with a secret heart of gold. (The implication that the average bro lacks a heart of gold is quite intentional.)
Directed by Charles Hood
Opens December 4, Cinema Village
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 1, 2015