×

Film Review: ‘All Nighter’

J.K. Simmons and Emile Hirsch are saddled with a mismatched buddy comedy with no punch.

With:
J.K. Simmons, Emile Hirsch, Analeigh Tipton, Taran Killam, Kristen Schaal, Xosha Roquemore, Jon Daly, Shannon Woodward, Jon Bass, Hunter Parrish.

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4662420/combined

Character actors can wait entire careers for the kind of breakthrough J.K. Simmons had in “Whiplash.” The Oscar-winning role propelled the well-liked but often under-the-radar actor to everything from the talk-show circuit to “Saturday Night Live” host. But an Oscar is no golden ticket to better material, as demonstrated by “All Nighter,” a wan, mismatched buddy comedy toplining Simmons and Emile Hirsch that’s destined to disappear quickly from theaters and VOD.

The part may be tailor-made for Simmons’ no-nonsense persona, and his performance reliably rock solid, but the bland execution of director Gavin Wiesen and the uninspired scripting of Seth Owen have no comic zing. It’s a night all too easy to forget.

The pic opens on an awkward first meeting between Hirsch’s nebbishy Martin and Simmons’ commanding Mr. Gallo, the father of Martin’s g.f., Ginnie (Analeigh Tipton). Ginnie isn’t particularly close to her dad, so the fact that he responds with a mix of blank stares and incredulous comebacks to the revelations that Martin plays the banjo, is the son of an environmental activist, and can’t drink wine due to a sulfite allergy doesn’t automatically doom their relationship. Martin even nudges Ginnie to see her father more often, no matter how uncomfortable it might be for the younger man.

Nevertheless once this prologue wraps, the action cuts to six months later, when a brokenhearted Martin is down in the dumps over a breakup with Ginnie, and Gallo somewhat improbably knocks on the front door looking for his daughter. He hasn’t been able to reach her for several days, and she still isn’t picking up her phone, so Martin reluctantly agrees to help Gallo retrace Ginnie’s steps since she left three months ago.

The not-so-wild adventure leads to an assortment of mildly quirky characters including combative married couple Gary (Taran Killam, going all-in for a role with little reward) and Roberta (Kristen Schaal, underused); Ginnie’s hard-partying best friend Megan (Xosha Roquemore); and a thinly written alternative love interest (Shannon Woodward) for Martin. As the night drags on, not only do Martin and Gallo engage in forced bonding (mostly over Bob Seger) but the seemingly cool-as-ice Gallo inevitably opens up about his inner pain.

Gamely throwing himself into a progression of lackluster set pieces — and rocking a tight pink ladies T-shirt with the phrase “Keep It Juicy” for close to half of the mercifully brief 80 minute running time — Simmons singlehandedly labors to make the film watchable. The way he can earn a genuine laugh casually tossing off a tired line like, “Is this whole neighborhood stoned?” underlines how much he could’ve done with a better script.

Hirsch feels more adrift in a role Gallo at one point accurately labels “namby pamby,” but the film’s faults don’t really lie with any of the actors. Wiesen hasn’t grown as a filmmaker since his lackluster Sundance-launched debut feature “The Art of Getting By” dropped in 2011, and the film’s rote tech contributions and all-encompassing mediocrity won’t be much of a surprise to anyone who saw that earlier picture.

Film Review: 'All Nighter'

Reviewed online, March 15, 2017. Running time: 86 MIN.

Production: A Good Deed Entertainment release of a Spring Pictures and a Wing and a Prayer Pictures presentation in association with Heretic Films and Green Hummingbird Entertainment. Producers: Adi Ezroni, Mandy Tagger Brockey, P. Jennifer Dana, Josh Crook. Executive producers: Ishay Mor, Tim Nye, Gavin Wiesen, Ron Perlman, J. Randle Crook, Erik Kritzer, Brian Wilkins, Sarah Johnson, David Beal, Burton Ritchie, Gregory Segal, Jeremy Kipp Walker, Scott Donley.

Crew: Director: Gavin Wiesen. Writer: Seth W. Owen. Camera (color, HD): Seamus Tierney. Editor: Terel Gibson. Music: Alec Puro.

With: J.K. Simmons, Emile Hirsch, Analeigh Tipton, Taran Killam, Kristen Schaal, Xosha Roquemore, Jon Daly, Shannon Woodward, Jon Bass, Hunter Parrish.

More Film

  • Unathi Malonga

    Report Urges South African Media to ‘Step Up’ Against Gender Violence

    DURBAN–In a country with some of the highest rates of sexual and gender-based violence in the world, South African media must step up and play a greater role in the fight against gender inequality and gender-based violence. That was the conclusion of a report, “Gender, Diversity and Gender-based Violence in South African TV,” that was [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Leaders Approve Proposal for New Film-TV Contract

    The SAG-AFTRA national board has approved proposals for a successor deal to its master contract covering feature film and primetime television — a key step in the upcoming negotiations cycle with companies. The board approved the package Saturday with the performers union declining to reveal any specifics — its usual policy. The board established the wages [...]

  • Cameron Crowe, David Crosby, A.J. Eaton.

    Cameron Crowe on Why He Loved Leaving David Crosby Doc on a CSNY Question Mark

    David Crosby may or may not have stuck a joint in Cameron Crowe’s mouth the first time he ever met the future filmmaker, when Crosby was peaking with Crosby Stills Nash & Young and his interviewer was a precocious 15-year-old Rolling Stone correspondent. As Crowe said to Jimmy Kimmel the other night, “I remember it [...]

  • Mokalik

    Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan: African Audiences Shouldn’t Be ‘Second-Class’

    DURBAN–A young boy from a middle-class home gets an unconventional schooling in the ways of the world when he’s forced to apprentice at a mechanic’s workshop in a rough-and-tumble section of Lagos. “Mokalik” is the latest feature from Kunle Afolayan, a leading figure in the wave of filmmakers revitalizing the Nigerian film industry. The film [...]

  • Alicia Rodis photographed by Alicia Rodis

    SAG-AFTRA Moves to Standardize Guidelines for Intimacy Coordinators

    SAG-AFTRA is moving to standardize guidelines for intimacy coordinators as part of an effort to establish policies for union members when their work involves nudity and simulated sex. “Our goal is to normalize and promote the use of intimacy coordinators within our industry,” said SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris. “Intimacy coordinators provide an important safety net for [...]

  • The Lion King

    Box Office: 'The Lion King' Roars Overseas With Mighty $269 Million

    Disney’s “The Lion King” certainly felt the love this weekend, generating $269 million at the international box office. Director Jon Favreau’s remake of the classic Disney cartoon now holds the eighth-biggest debut of all time overseas, and that’s not including the film’s early opening in China last weekend. Combined with a stellar $185 million start [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content