The Layover Review
The Layover is a 2017 comedy about two women recently out of jobs who take a trip to have some fun, finding a romance a competition along the way.
A movie like The Layover is pretty much critic-proof, a film mired in its simple premise and yet committed to it, knowing its audience isn’t coming in with anything more on their minds than to see what’s on the menu, having been properly salivated by the teasing promos. It’s meant to be shallow, to stir some controversy and be as juvenile as it can be. Some films handle this well and even manage to be smart about it. The Layover does not, and while you might be tempted by the opportunities that the story seems to promise, this is one to avoid.
Kate (Alexandra Daddario) is a sweet-natured junior high English teacher who’s not particularly good at it and after some advice from the principal (Rob Corddry), has no job. Her best friend is Meg (Kate Upton) a cosmetics saleswoman with a load of North Korean makeup she can’t get rid of. To take a leave of their troubles, the pair decide to enjoy a vacation in the sun, but a hurricane strands them in St. Louis, benching them with a hunky dude named Ryan (Matt Barr), whom they met on the plane. He’s the modern poster boy for the perfect male (I guess) with his long Thor-like blond hair, chiseled abs, dreamy blue eyes and sultry voice. The women succumb to their baser libideos and devolve into ever-increasingly absurd acts of competitive display to win his attention.
We’re not in new territory here of course. Genders reversed, there is a whole genre devoted to young men in movies making fools of themselves to win hearts, or at least a romp. When it comes to women, it almost always centers on best friends who end up resorting to wildly over-the-top acts of sabotage or raucous-ness. No different here as these girls go to some silly lengths to try and bed Ryan, causing all kinds of disaster between them. It’s broad comedy in the broadest of sense, designed to be unbelievable, a tone cringingly introduced right at the start with Meg’s attempt to sell “Oriental” makeup that kinda burns on contact. Problem is, hardly anything is ever funny. But we all know what the attraction is.
Daddario and Upton are of course very beautiful and Barr is no slouch himself. Watching exceedingly good looking people make goofs of themselves is somehow always a little fun, however eye-candy is only sweet for so long. Directed by William H. Macy, whose name you’re probably reading again to make sure it is who you think it is (it is), The Layover is a one-trick pony for most of its run with two adult women reduced to baser antics in trying to win an objectified man and so if your wish is to see the lovely Daddario covered in feces after flailing about in a public restroom, you’re in luck.
It’s not to be taken seriously, but the film embraces its silliness enough that it feels like it should be sharper, however it doesn’t go nearly as dark as it might or quite as raunchy as it promises. Daddario works best among the pair as Upton lacks the edge her character is meant to have. Barr is mostly a block of meat and is missing the depth needed to make him all the more a prize worth fighting for, even as the film tries to shift it all in the last act. The film is packed with a few unsung cameos, including Molly Shannon and a woefully underused Kal Penn, though none are enough to give this any spark. This is going to be one of those love it or leave it movies most likely, but there’s nary a laugh to be found here, a wholly unredeemable effort that never finds its footing.
The Layover Review
Movie description: The Layover is a 2017 comedy about two women recently out of jobs who take a trip to have some fun, finding a romance a competition along the way.
Director(s): William H. Macy
Actor(s): Kate Upton, Alexandra Daddario, Matt Barr