Overnight: This Rom-Com Doesn't Veer off the Familiar Flight Plan

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Starring Rachel Blanchard, James D'Arcy, and Anthony LaPaglia. Written and directed by Valerie Breiman. 84 minutes. Rated R.

If you're going to trap the leads of a romantic comedy on a redeye 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 the surly pilot) who behave in predictably unpredictable ways. Meanwhile, Jenny and Tom cycle through what she calls "a superaccelerated Twilight Zone relationship." During its dull course (suspicion, attraction, hookup, jealousy, etc.), we keep waiting for the gremlin to attack the wing of the aircraft, as in the actual Twilight Zone. Or 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 Hope-Crosby Road movie on DVD, you wish you could too.

 
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