When Alex (Adam Scott) and his wife Emily (Taylor Schilling) move to Los Angeles with their young son, they are intent on making new friends in the area to help them settle in. It doesn’t take long either, before the eccentric, elusive Kurt (Jason Schwartman) approaches them in the park when their sons are playing, inviting them round for a dinner party. Somewhat reluctant at first, the pair decide it’s a good idea and so head over to his grandiose abode, where he lives a freewheeling lifestyle with his French wife Charlotte (Judith Godrèche). The night begins in a somewhat ordinary fashion, but as the alcohol begins to flow, it heads down a rather unexpected, peculiar path.
There are also shades of the recent Noah Baumbach endeavour While We’re Young prevalent too, exploring the notion of meeting idealistic, more expressive counterparts to our seemingly mundane selves, people we almost wish we could be more like. But then when it boils down to it, it seems we’re generally happier and more content just as we are. That’s one of many interesting themes on show, but none more so than that of sexual desire. Anybody who have ever been in a long-term relationship will wince for the most part, but relate to the narrative in others. This idea that when we’re married we instantly lose any sense of lust for others, thinking solely of our loved one is a romanticised if somewhat misleading viewpoint – and this film studies that taboo, an unspoken subject matter of sorts, and yet one that exists, a perceptible if discomforting reality.
Brice is quick to deviate away from any such reality, however, with surrealistic, almost farcical elements implemented throughout, and yet he always maintains the subtle nuances of this quartet of intriguing protagonists. They’re tremendously well-crafted, full-bodied creations, with each individual relationship bearing such such a layered dynamic. We only truly spend time with these characters over the course of this one night – but their distinctive personality traits are so palpable, that by the close of play we feel like we know each one of them so well, without really knowing anything at all.