All Nighter Review
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Love Is Dead
by: Jerry Smith
ALL NIGHTER should not work. There are so many elements that all play into giving off the impression that the film is absolutely more of the same and if you stop and think about it, haven't we seen the "father doesn't like his daughter's boyfriend but is forced to become closer to him" type of film SO many times by now? So it would be a massive lie to tell you DCP readers that I walked into this one expecting anything but more of what I've seen dozens of times, but with that being said, I'm not above admitting when I am completely wrong and hear you me, ALL NIGHTER is not only completely different than that quick to judge idea I had, but it's actually quite an endearing film that bypasses any preconceived ideas of what you're expecting.
Martin (Emile Hirsch, THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE, SPEED RACER) has it bad, he's completely committed to his girlfriend, Ginnie (Analeigh Tipton), and when meeting her father Mr. Gallo (J.K. Simmons, WHIPLASH) for a dinner, Martin does what every guy meeting his lady's father first time dreads: completely messes everything up. He spills his drink on the man, offends him with his opinions and a countless series of other mistakes. We know right from the beginning that Martin is in WAY over his head and that their relationship will most definitely be a hard sell to the workaholic, take no crap father, played excellently by Simmons. When the film then skips ahead a few months, we see Mr. Gallo show up at the apartment that Martin and Ginnie shared, the man looking for his daughter. Martin explains to the ultra serious father that in the time since their meeting, that he and Ginnie had broken up and that she has moved away and while that seems like it would be the end of their adventure, Mr. Gallo doesn't let Martin off, instead insisting that the broken hearted musician accompanies him to find his daughter, a journey that, like the film's title says, lasts all night.
The setup is something not entirely unique, but it's the very original direction that the film heads into from that point, combined with the performances from Hirsch and Simmons that really makes ALL NIGHTER a very entertaining and memorable experience. We don't get the typical annoying, frustrating young guy trying to impress the father angle that is so forced in other films. Martin isn't a character that is around for comic relief, making us laugh at his misfortunes. No, instead, Hirsch helps make the character one that is endearing, a man who is genuinely broken hearted about losing his girlfriend and his means well and does all he can to do the right thing. The contrast between his and Simmons' characters is a fun one, it nenver comes off like we're watching yet another MEET THE PARENTS clone, no ALL NIGHTER isn't about making the father of a man's lover like him, it's a film that a friendship between two men, that in spite of the circumstances that brought them together, blossoms into an understanding and respect between the two men.
The film is full of humorous moments, involving club fights, breaking and entering and various other comedic moments, but there's such a huge amount fo heart and soul to the film, that the expected comedy comes second place to that. It's not a film abot getting Ginnie back for Martin and it's that unexpected element to the film that makes it very unique. We're not watching a film about a man winning back his failed relationship with the help of her father, instead we're given a story about two men who must come to terms with the failures in their past relationships and it really adds to the film's appeal.
It's an original and very entertaining look at getting closure, a film that shines a light on those people who meant well but ultimately failed. ALL NIGHTER is one to watch and a film that bypasses all cliches put in front of it, offering a very unique experience.