Overnight: Next Time Take the Train

If you're going to trap the leads of a romantic comedy on a red-eye flight from L.A. to New York, the script had better be pretty damn funny or the stars pretty darn charismatic. Or, ideally, both. Writer/director Valerie Breiman has surely seen Airplane! a few times and understands our expectations. Unfortunately, in a film that barely deserves its R rating, her sensibility is closer to Garry Marshall than Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker. Jenny and Tom (Rachel Blanchard and James D'Arcy) meet cute, both on the rebound, and strike up one of those weirdly intimate and confessional in-flight relationships that I suspect exist only in movies about flying, not in the actual dismal experience of modern air travel. Around them are a few supporting players (including Anthony LaPaglia as a surly pilot) who behave in predictably unpredictable ways. Meanwhile, Jenny and Tom cycle through what she calls "a super-accelerated Twilight Zone relationship." During its dull course (suspicion, attraction, hookup, jealousy, etc.), we keep waiting for a gremlin to attack the wing of the aircraft, as in the actual Twilight Zone. Or for a crash or a hijacking—anything, in other words, to veer our lovers off the familiar flight plan. You can't fault Blanchard and D'Arcy (the latter recently seen as King Edward in Madonna's folly W.E.), though when their characters briefly interrupt the airborne romance to watch an old Bob Hope/Bing Crosby Road movie on DVD, you wish you could, too.

 
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