The Freebie (2010)
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Critic Reviews for The Freebie
A not too funny, not too sad, largely improvised dramedy about two nice people who both succumb to the seven-year-itch and live to regret it.
Aselton gets a lot said in 78 minutes. I think the main thing she says is something never overtly spoken, that life is essentially a lonely experience - even when we're surrounded by activity, and even if we never shut up.
Though the dialogue explores some interesting territory, the couple remain elusive and a little dull; we never learn anything about them beyond the subject at hand, so they seem to exist in an odd, screenwriting-exercise vacuum.
Though its premise seems ripe for a high-concept studio yukfest, The Freebie is all the better for its low-budget, human-scale approach.
Audience Reviews for The Freebie
"A One Night Experiment in Infidelity"
A young couple decides to give each other a night off, no questions asked.
What The Freebie is is naturalistic drama done right. The story is simple: a happy couple decide to "fix" their bedroom apathy by taking a single night to go out and share some bone with a stranger. Both Katie Aselton and Shepard are fantastic, both as lovers and as people going through a mighty big challenge together. Much of the dialogue in the first two acts plays through in a way that makes you wish it was your relationship - the two leads seeming so uniquely happy together at times that you get the feeling that Aselton took from her personal life for the script. Things change a bit in the third act, as they should. Things get, well, heavy.
Knowing that the writer/director, Aselton, is married to actor/writer/director Mark Duplass, I half expected the film to have a Mumblecore vibe. Not really the case. The cinematography is solid, if simple, the picture always looking big and bright and, at times, quite stylized. And sure, the writing and acting are great, but it's the combination of clever editing and the believable bond between the two leads that really make this thing work.
After a dinner party, Annie(Katie Aselton, who also directed) and Darren(Dax Shepard) are inspired by a newly single friend to talk about hypothetical sex partners. It's not until their nightly crossword puzzles that the potential becomes increasingly real and they even start to hash out the details of a mutual one night stand.
As a promising directorial debut, "The Freebie" is a bracingly honest look at relationships.(Even at one point when he is obviously lying, Darren is also telling the truth.) The central question is whether a relationship can survive without sex? And I know cynics and "The Object of My Affection" point out that all marriages devolve into friendships, but does that really have to be the case in Darren and Annie? Although as inferred later, this is only the sympton of a much larger ingredient that is missing from their marriage. Thankfully, this movie does not overstay its welcome in trying to find those answers, as it eventually develops a nonsequential structure starting with Annie's walk of shame.
Heartbreakingly real and honest, Darren and Annie have simply become too close that instead of taking a normal step forward in their relationship (say having a child), they opt to devote a single night to having an affair. Most of the film is their leading up to the night and then the fallout. Do not expect a laugh-fest of pick up lines and one night stands. Instead, get ready for an almost documentary look at the life of two monogamous characters stuck in a rut and their ass-backwards way of fixing it.
The Freebie Quotes
|Darren:||I has been a little while since... When was the last time that we...|
|Darren:||After Riches... after Riches party?|
|Annie:||I don't think we actually had sex then, I think we talked about having sex.|
|Lea:||So yeah, let's talk about it. The fact that Will's not here, and I know you guys liked Will. And I love him, still, but it was a long time coming, and it's over, and this time it's for real. Last night I finally did it. I finally was honest, and I'm sad, and it was hard, and it's been a hard time. But now it's done. And now I get to go and be myself. I'm excited to be me, I'm exited to be me without Will. I'm excited to live alone. I'm excited to have my own food in the refrigerator. I'm exited to come home and not know what the fuck I'm going to do that night...|
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