Cinema Review: Dirty Weekend | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, February 22nd, 2020  

Dirty Weekend

Studio: eOne
Directed by Neil LaBute

Sep 04, 2015 Web Exclusive
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Neil LaBute’s latest confirms that the writer/director is out of touch and out of material. Poised as an edgy and frank odd-couple comedy, instead Dirty Weekend feels more like a collection of stale and undeveloped ideas about debauchery and monogamy. Matthew Broderick stars as Les Moore, an uptight executive stuck on an unexpected extended layover in Albuquerque with his more open-minded coworker Natalie (Alice Eve). Although neither of them seem to know each other very well, nor to enjoy each other’s company, Nathalie is determined that they stick together throughout. It’s a thin premise that wears thinner as they begrudgingly egg each other on to reveal secrets and let their guards down, seemingly only because the script instructs them to do so.

What Les reveals at Nathalie’s incessant urging – once he had a life-changing one-night stand in Albuquerque that, despite going against his moral compass, he would like to recreate – isn’t as racy as he or LaBute think it is. If Les is so boxed in, why when Nathalie herself reveals a kinky secret (more edgy if less inflammatory), does he barely blink an eyelash? These characters are cardboard as reflected in the actors’ performances. Broderick is stiff and self-conscious. There is nothing subtle about his affectations, as if he were doing an impression of bad acting. Although Eve is a bit more naturalistic, she doesn’t seem to know exactly what she is doing in the film in the first place and spends most of the film taking up space.

The promise of Les eventually ditching Nathalie and letting loose remains vaguely alluring. Unfortunately, even when he finally consummates some sort of fantasy, the whole thing is so chaste, so uncomfortable, it’s hard to believe anyone would long for that kind of dirty weekend. 

Author rating: 2/10

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