Oh, Oh, the Perils of the Open Relationship

09/15/2010 4:00 AM |

The Freebie

Directed by Katie Aselton

The “freebie” of the title refers to the deal between Annie (Katie Aselton, also the director) and Darren (Dax Shepard) that makes it okay to fuck another person. Emotional chaos ensues, but it’s not necessarily worse than the relational stagnation that already exists. Darren seems too fond of his spooning “snuggle boners,” and the fact that Annie’s trying out a bikini is an occasion for mutual laughs instead of arousal is evidence that irony has trumped attraction.

The first half hour of Aselton’s movie is improvised, getting-to-know-you conversation around the table, and it’s jarring when the “freebie” bargain is abruptly cut in bed. But the situation seems to enliven their libidos: Annie fucks the bartender she’d been flirting with, and Darren makes out with a long-coveted barista. For the moment, the tactic works&#8212when Darren and Annie reunite, they’re kissing more passionately than ever. The moans soon give way to sighs, and “you’re a fucking slut” comes flying out of his mouth. The poignant clink of cutlery against plates soundtracks the awkward resolution of their misbegotten scheme.

Opens September 17