Three Night Stand

2015 - 86 minutes

Rated: NR

Directed by: Pat Kiely

Written by: Pat Kiely

Starring: Sam Huntington, Meaghan Rath, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Reagan Pasternak, Reagan Pasternak, Aliocha Schneider

Romantic comedies often get a bad rap for being schmaltzy and predictable as a mismatched couple goes through the motions of repulsion and attraction before ending up together in some contrived, cutesy way. Three Night Stand isn’t guilty of that, and sort of establishes itself as an anti-rom-com with barbs meant to hurt, emotionally destructive behavior, and convoluted love quadrangles (possibly even more multi-sided) with little hope of being sorted out cleanly. What it is guilty of, however, is being unfunny and generally unenjoyable. If we’re rooting for any disagreeable couples to end up together, it’s because we want them to experience joylessness.

Videogame designer Carl (Sam Huntington) hopes to rekindle the flickering marital spark by taking his gorgeous wife Sue (Meaghan Rath) on a weekend getaway. Probably not smart that he’s taking her to the same quaint ski lodge he frequented with his ex, Robyn (Emmanuelle Chriqui). Turns out that Robyn is fond of the B & B as well; so fond that she quit her office job and bought the place, which makes for some awkward moments (and hours, and days – three, to be exact) after Carl and Sue check in. Providing some distraction for Sue (it’s only fair) is pretentious French-Canadian actor Anatolii Winters (Aliocha Schneider) who’s staying at the lodge with his mother. Sue’s a big fan.

It’s an uncomfortable situation to be sure, though writer/director Pat Kiely can’t guide the material into the realm observational humor or relationship truth. The tension between Carl and Sue is never real, their bitching and moaning dismissed with some sarcastic witticisms. They’re nonplussed one second and hugging and giggling the next, with Huntington and Rath overemphasizing every beat. No doubt marriage has its mood swings, though here the gymnastics do nothing to inform the characters. It’s like a hypothetical, hackneyed relationship counseling textbook scenario come to life. He’s the needy husband who doesn’t know what he needs (or wants) and she’s the cool chick with a quick wit and radiant smile who probably deserves better. On the flip side, Robyn is just the cool chick who’s been wounded, her self-deprecating sadness acting like a depressive aphrodisiac for Carl, who, we know, still has deep feelings.

Because Three Night Stand has little to say about actual relationships, it ratchets up the blunt sexuality to a level that’s not quite jokey gag, but is instead stiff and unpleasant. There’s dirty talk during a backseat quickie that turns into a cheerless perfunctory act and more dirty talk during an uncomfortable (for us and certainly for the participants) encounter on a skimobile. It all smells of icky complication, but nothing seems to affect the triumvirate other than what is needed to get to the next staged scene. Also, no offense to Huntington, but it is a bit confounding as we watch the exceedingly gorgeous Rath and equally attractive Chriqui each make themselves available to him.

Brief comic respites are provided by Carl’s B.F.F and her husband (Reagan Pasternak and Jonathan Cherry), who arrive at the resort after some miscommunication. Their deadpan delivery isn’t enough to cut through the prickliness of the main players, however. Three Night Stand is a mostly humorless and decidedly unromantic drama that shows the same knack for misjudgment as its main male character.

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