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  • Paula Tiberius

30 Nights

Directed by Tom Metz III, Written by & starring Mandy Kaplan & Johnny Giacalone

Whenever I’m about to watch a movie with a really funny premise like this one – a couple on the brink of divorce who vow to have sex for 30 nights in a row to fix their marriage – my first thought is: Will it really, truly exploit the hell out the premise? Anything less will be so unsatisfying, which is not what you want, especially in a movie about sex.

Willa (Mandy Kaplan) and Nick (Johnny Giacalone)

Well, for anyone on the fence wondering if they should watch 30 Nights, the answer is a resounding, orgasmic, YES! It’s not just that the two leads are so completely lovable and freakin’ hilarious comedic actors (which is true) but the premise is so thoroughly mined for comedy you almost feel like you were the one having all that sex. Willa (Mandy Kaplan) speaks for millions of married women when she gorges on chocolate to get in the mood for sex, over-shares with family and friends about her marriage and worries about scarring her young son with divorce. Nick (Johnny Giacalone) speaks for millions of married men when he watches porn, wishes his wife loved her body as much as he does, and makes an escape plan, in case separation is still the result of this earnest attempt at salvation. They are real people with ordinary urges who have settled into a lazy pattern that has slowly de-volved into meanness and petty insults. Who among us ‘smug marrieds’ hasn’t been there?

Alan Rachins as Nick’s critical dad who is comically giving his grandson everything Nick ever wanted from him.

Jenny O’Hara as Willa’s hilarious, over-sharing mom.

We all know that unless we dig deep and allow our vulnerabilities to be exposed, we don’t stand a chance in hell of staying together for the long haul. But who wants to do all that work? It’s terrible, awful, painful and embarrassing. It’s way easier to stay in the miserable status quo. But watching other people go through it? Sign me up for hilarity! Maybe by watching this brave couple jump out into oncoming traffic, we can even learn by example – or just laugh our asses off at them while they flail around.

Lyric Lewis & Chris Butler as the best friends who recommend their marriage guru.

And make no mistake, our heroes Willa and Nick are brave.  They’re willing to grab for that brass ring, that holy grail of matrimony – they’re willing to do “the work” to become that married couple who actually give a shit about each other. They’re willing to go to a crackpot marriage guru named Lance Ying (Dan Fogler) who tells them things they don’t want to hear. Between his gimmicks and kooky methods, he questions their cherished routines, and serves them up some pretty decent advice along the way, the pièce de resistance of which is the 30 days of sex. Each day has a theme in the guru’s masterclass book – dungeons, cosplay, sex swings – but it’s their most bumbling, improvised ‘normal’ sexual encounters that draw Nick and Willa in full portrait. We’re rooting for them to connect because we see they’re perfect for each other, but it’s not easy to reconcile a private neurotic and an outgoing cynic. But dammit, their best friends did it (with laugh out loud lines from Lyric Lewis & Chris Butler) so why can’t they? They just need to weather a storm together in order to get back to a place of appreciation for each other.

Kate Welder & Roman De Ocampo, Willa’s sister & fiancé

Much to my high-concept, romantic-comedy-loving delight, the writers do indeed create a hellish superstorm for Nick and Willa, leaving us wondering if they crossed a line too far to make it back to the finish line. They tackle it all – his fears, her insecurities – all the while humping and pumping every single day in the most hilarious situations possible, ones that always seem to be wedged into their full lives in the most awkward ways – with a sister (Kate Walder) on the verge of marriage (to Ramon De Ocampo) and two sets of ever-present grandparents – including Jenny O’Hara and Alan Rachins, who steal their scenes.

30 Nights has it all – masterful actors that make you feel instantly comfortable, a relatable world with just enough ridiculousness to ring true, and a clever, satisfying script that leaves no married-sex joke unturned.

Check out the trailer here below:

Starring Johnny Giacalone Mandy Kaplan Jenny O’Hara Chris Butler Lyric Lewis Ramon De Ocampo Katie Walder

with Alan Rachins

and Dan Fogler as “Dr. Lance Ying”

Directed by Tom Metz III

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