Afternoon Delight (R)

Drama 99 min. August 30, 2013
By Nick Schager
Marital instability isn't fixed until, absurdly, it is-- by introducing a prostitute into the household mix in Afternoon Delight, a film whose themes are as neatly laid out as its characters' behavior is preposterous. Exuding a compelling messiness that deserves a better vehicle than this, Kathryn Hahn stars as Rachel, a stay-at-home mom whose loveless marriage to workaholic Jeff (Josh Radnor) drives her to invite home a stripper-cum-whore, McKenna (Juno Temple), from whom she receives a lap dance at a local club. Writer-director Jill Soloway coherently outlines the various dissatisfactions that lead Rachel to this decision, which soon involves hiring McKenna as a nanny for the couple's preschool-age son, as well as tagging along to see McKenna screw one of her regulars. Especially during a drunken girls' night, Hahn digs deep to locate the character's ugly need and self-loathing. None of that changes the fact that the central conceit is impossibly contrived. When one of Rachel's friends, post-cataclysmic events, tells her "you had to know better," the censure is likely to inspire viewers to eye-rolls, given that it's impossible to believe even the monumentally discontent Rachel wouldn't have recognized this fact from the start. The result is a film that gets at true, tumultuous emotions via a scenario that’s thoroughly false.
Jill Soloway Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch, Kathryn Hahn, Suzy Nakamura, Jessica St. Clair, John Kapelos, Keegan Michael Key, Michaela Watkins Jill Soloway Jen Chaiken, Sebastian Dungan The Film Arcade

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