All Nighter (R)

Comedy 86 min. March 17, 2017
By Chris Packham
One of J.K. Simmons' most appealing qualities is the incongruity between his assertive jock presence and his average, balding appearance — a little bit turtle-y, right? But the kind of turtle you'd willingly follow into combat. The man also has one of the best voices in film, and these qualities often serve to make his supporting characters the standouts, like his J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man movies.

But on those occasions when he's the central focus, the gravity of his alpha-male charisma can reshape a whole film. All Nighter runs on that charm, revving this comedy up from average to somewhat above average. Months after Martin (Emile Hirsch) breaks up with girlfriend Ginnie (Analeigh Tipton), her father, Frank (Simmons), shows up at his door asking if he knows where she is. Martin, a banjo-playing Canadian vegetarian, is the polar opposite of the hard-charging, meat-eating businessman; nonetheless, he spends the rest of the night grudgingly guiding Frank around to Ginnie's workplaces and hangouts, having conversations with women and meeting L.A. weirdos, including Taran Killam and Kristen Schaal as a couple in a hate-based romance.

The introverted and peaceable Martin takes abuse from everyone he meets, disrespected for his passivity and banjo playing. And while multiple women describe Frank as "do-able" throughout the course of the film, he leads a terribly lonely life, isolated from his family. He shows Martin how to win a fist fight; Martin convinces him to reconnect with his life. In other words, it's a super-ordinary buddy plot elevated by one man's godlike charisma.
Gavin Wiesen Shannon Woodward, Analeigh Tipton, Emile Hirsch, J.K. Simmons, Kristen Schaal, Taran Killam, Hunter Parrish, Stephanie Allynne, Jon Daly, Jon Bass Seth W. Owen Adi Ezroni, Mandy Tagger Brockey, Josh Crook, P. Jennifer Dana Good Deed Entertainment

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