Review by Sean Boelman
Written and directed by Joshua Friedlander, Holly Slept Over is an unabashedly unconventional new sex comedy that will almost certainly turn heads. With a simple but admittedly pretty intriguing premise, the film will be able to maintain the audience’s interest even when it takes some misguided wrong turns.
The movie tells the story of a couple who begins to experience a rift in their marriage when her former college roommate comes to stay for a weekend, causing both of them to doubt their feelings and desires. What makes this film stand out from other similar comedies is that the movie is not from the perspective of the third wheel, but rather, the couple.
Perhaps the biggest thing holding this film back is that it contains a forced subplot involving the main couple’s friends whose relationship is also in turmoil. Although it is understandable why Friedlander decided to include this in the script, it did not demand so much of the movie’s run time. For the most part, this storyline is more problematic than beneficial to the film’s message.
As a whole, the movie feels somewhat mean-spirited, which is often frustrating. Even though the ending of the film is ultimately satisfying and has a positive message about the importance of open communication with one’s significant other, it takes a long time to get to that point, and the journey along the way is not a very enlightening one.
For a majority of the movie, the characters are mostly very dislikable. All but one of the characters is depicted in a way that makes them seem duplicitous and manipulative. It’s very difficult for one to sympathize with characters who are committing so many dubious actions in order to fulfill their sexual fantasies, creating this undeniably toxic situation.
That said, the film does manage to stay afloat for the most part thanks to the solid cast. As the eponymous character, Nathalie Emmanuel is very charming, even though her character isn’t the most likably-written. Britt Lower and Josh Lawson have good chemistry together as the central couple, particularly in the bickering scenes. Ron Livingston is also funny despite the sometimes blatantly offensive material he is given.
On a technical level, the movie is mostly very low-key, but that can be expected of a modest comedy like this. The bare minimum of technical competency is achieved, and even though the film can’t be bothered to do something much more ambitious with its comedic rhythm, it has enough laughs that are edited in a way as to be moderately entertaining.
Holly Slept Over has quite a few problems, and it’s honestly very surprising that a film like this can even be released today. Still, despite the lack of relevant insight that Friendlander seems to hope the script has, there’s enough laughs here to make this worth a rental… just not on date night.
Holly Slept Over hits VOD on March 3.