Dirty Weekend (2015)

Posted by Joel Copling on September 17, 2015

"Dirty Weekend" seems oddly gutless, both by the standards of its writer/director, Neil LaBute, whose previous history with tales of sexually deviant and exploratory characters would seem an obvious inspiration to a tale of the same told with gusto and forthrightness, and by the standards of a pair of actors who seem ill-equipped for the japery of LaBute's dialogue. It also features characters who are distinctly unlikable, although that would be less of a problem if the screenplay was interested in putting them through something more interesting than the act of the title. It's ultimately an exercise in how strange a weekend can get spent in the city to which our characters are laidover on a flight to Dallas.

Les Moore (Matthew Broderick, of all actors), whose name could probably use another 's' in the first, one fewer 'o' in the last, and a passive verb in the middle, is an overbearing presence when we first meet him, and that characteristic never lets up. He and Natalie Hamilton (Alice Eve, continuing what is apparently her signature acting trait of looking distracted all the time), a work colleague with an English accent and few other characteristics of her own, are stranded for a weekend in Albuquerque on their way to the Lone Star State when a storm grounds their plane. Les decides to have a day out on the town to "run an errand," and Natalie accompanies him out of obligation.

What follows is meant to be blunt commentary on the character's sexual histories (such as the reason Les is carrying a scrap of paper with "Zorro" written on it or why Natalie is wearing a turtleneck), but it's actually just a window into the kind of weird, kinky stuff that screenwriters think is blunt commentary on sexual histories. We ultimately discover what "Zorro" is, and Les encounters a pair of open-minded siblings (played by Gia Crovatin and Brenden Wedner) in a scene that plays incest for laughs. Natalie, meanwhile, has curious sexual habits that are actually fairly normal, although the film, like Les, responds in an over-the-top manner to it all. "Dirty Weekend" has enough comic nerve to be tolerable, but its treatment of the thing it wants to tear open and examine is more like the movie is looking underneath the shoe to see if it really is that gross.

Film Information

Matthew Broderick (Les Moore), Alice Eve (Natalie Hamilton), Gia Crovatin (Dylan), Phil Burke (Cabbie), Monique Candelaria (Dark-Haired Beauty), Brenden Wedner (Brother).

Directed and written by Neil LaBute.

No MPAA rating.

93 minutes.

Released in select cities on September 4, 2015.