CUFF film review: Three Night Stand

A disenchanted married couple, a weekend getaway at a ski lodge, ex-lovers and other wacky characters barging in at the wrong times — it sounds like the recipe for a bland and generic comedy. However Three Night Stand explores awkward and uncomfortable topics while maintaining a sense of humour throughout the film.

Three Night Stand follows a weekend in the life of Carl, a somewhat average game designer, whose marriage has cooled off considerably. Attempting to re-ignite their marriage, Carl takes his wife, Sue, on a weekend trip to a romantic ski lodge, which unbeknownst to him is run by his ex-girlfriend Robyn. Over the weekend Carl must confront his feelings for Robyn while also dealing with the other wacky patrons of the lodge and both of their spouses. Needless to say complications quickly arise.

The film, lacking a serious and focused plot, relies on the interactions between the characters.

Director Pat Kiely says he wanted the cast to feel like ordinary and average people, people who would be relatable yet unique.

“All the characters have pieces of me in them as well as pieces of my friends,” Kiely says. “I wanted the characters to talk about things that were true to what my friends talk about.”

Carl is presented as a generic nobody during the opening of the film — an average guy with an average job and (somewhat) happy marriage. As the film progresses, more of Carl’s personality is revealed and he’s shown to be an asshole with a high-heel fetish, but who cares deeply for his wife. Overall Carl is relatable only because he is so normal. He’s a normal guy who has some deep-seated relationship issues.

The humour in Three Night Stand comes across forced at times — when there is awkward spontaneous sex or when Carl’s coworkers divulge information that is a little too personal for good taste. However there were parts that were laugh-out-loud funny when Carl is talking with his friends.

“I was drawing from things that happened in my own life and things that had happened in my friends’ lives,” Kiely says.

The natural and unforced humour present in the film adds levity to the otherwise dramatic story and helps flesh out the characters more fully.

Although the film is slated as a romantic comedy it is usually more awkward for the characters than romantic. Instead of glorifying young love and showing a perfect story book relationship, Three Night Stand shows that every relationship has some problems.

“Categorically, [Three Night Stand] is a romantic comedy. But I think the film is actually more of an anti-date movie than a romantic one,” Kiely says. “I didn’t want it to feel like some bullshit that you traditionally see in a film. I wanted there to be honest moments.”

Kiely says he was aiming for a more realistic approach to romance.

“It was unlike other romantic comedies because when I was writing it I was letting the characters dictate where the story was going to go,” Kiely says. “I think that it pushes boundaries. Most romantic comedies are quite safe and conventional appealing to a large audience.”

Three Night Stand is a well-made and enjoyable film. The film can be a little serious at times and it’s not traditional romantic comedy, but if you step back from the situation there are a few good laughs to be had during the film.

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