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The Freebie (2010)



Average Rating: 6/10
Critic Reviews: 9
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 5

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.7/5
User Ratings: 1,646

My Rating

Movie Info

A couple hatches a highly dubious scheme to put the spark back in their marriage in this independent comedy drama. Annie (Katie Aselton) and Darren (Dax Shepard) have been married for seven years, and they love each other as much as the day they were wed; they're affectionate, have fun together, and enjoy games such as crossword puzzle races. They would seem to have a perfect relationship, except for one thing -- they haven't had sex in ages, and seem to have lost all interest in making love


Drama, Comedy

Jan 11, 2011

Phase 4 - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (26) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (11)

A sly examination of the fragility of love.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

November 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia Inquirer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

October 28, 2010 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

October 7, 2010 Full Review Source: Seattle Times
Seattle Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though its premise seems ripe for a high-concept studio yukfest, The Freebie is all the better for its low-budget, human-scale approach.

September 30, 2010 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Katie Aselton has achieved the seemingly impossible. She's turned a movie about sex into a boring, talky snooze.

September 17, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Post
New York Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Aselton proves herself to be a formidable filmmaker with a keen eye for shame, making the picture something of a surprise, especially with its sense of marital realism.

January 11, 2011 Full Review Source:

Annie and Darren grow on us organically. The more they squirm, the more entertaining they are.

November 22, 2010 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Love's fragile intangibles rarely feel so visible. Viewers with a wandering eye may feel like they've gotten something out of their system.

November 10, 2010 Full Review Source:

Something of an emotional-psychological cheat. The big emotional argument to which the film builds is inherently less interesting than what causes that action -- all of which remains unaddressed.

October 13, 2010 Full Review Source: Shared Darkness
Shared Darkness

An intriguing premise rendered ultimately bland and moralistic.

September 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

Raw and emotionally intriguing two-hander (mostly), about the dangers of temptation and the freedom of monogamy.

September 17, 2010 Full Review Source: Hollywood & Fine
Hollywood & Fine

The chemistry between the stars makes them an easy couple to root for.

September 16, 2010 Full Review Source: HitFix

Aselton keeps it simple, and in the process makes an astute, powerful film.

September 16, 2010 Full Review Source: Cinematical

With a sure hand both behind and in front of the camera, Aselton exposes a raw nerve within all of us, and even entertains in the process.

September 16, 2010 Full Review Source:

[Katie Aselton] grounds each scene in a sense of realism while tackling, sans preachiness, the universal issues of fidelity, trust, friendship and love with sensitivity.

September 16, 2010 Full Review Source: NYC Movie Guru
NYC Movie Guru

The result is less of a movie than a sketch -- but a perceptive one

September 15, 2010 Full Review Source: New York Press
New York Press

[Dax] Shepard and [Katie] Aselton are great together, carrying the film as a couple so believable you feel like you're spying on their private conversations.

September 15, 2010 Full Review Source:

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.
June 24, 2011
Lorenzo von Matterhorn

Super Reviewer

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.
December 8, 2011
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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.
January 13, 2011

Super Reviewer

It's not the movie you expect. I mention that as a positive. I went into this movie expecting something light and silly, but it was quite the opposite. The treatment of the subject matter was handled with a lot of realism and honesty. It was surprisingly anti-fairytale, highly untidy, and extremely raw in true indie film fashion.
January 22, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Darren: I has been a little while since... When was the last time that we...
    2. Annie: Um...
    3. Darren: After Riches... after Riches party?
    4. Annie: I don't think we actually had sex then, I think we talked about having sex.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. 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...
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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