‘Afternoon Delight’ Movie Review – All Hahn
Thinking outside the box, changing up the formula, or whatever trite phrase you want to use, can often lead to good results. This is especially true in the movie business and in critic circles because we’re used to seeing so many of the same movies. Certain genres have it worse, too, and dramedies are notorious for seeming (key word: seeming) one and the same. This lead-up is why I feel legitimately bad for knocking Jill Soloway’s (HBO’s Six Feet Under) Afternoon Delight because at least it tried something off-the-cuff and legitimately different. It’s too bad Kathryn Hahn’s performance falls slightly by the wayside because of a pretty absurd final act.
“Afternoon Delight,” for those unfamiliar, is a euphemism for afternoon…well, delight. This phrase came about due to the popular song (which makes me think of Anchorman most times) and was satirically memorialized in an episode of Arrested Development. You shouldn’t at all be surprised that the movie Afternoon Delight puts sex at the forefront.
Among other things, the movie is about a mom, named Rachel (Hahn), going through a midlife crisis. In her case, though, she decides to take in a struggling stripper (Juno Temple) – who she met while trying to spice up the relationship with her husband (Josh Radnor) – to act as a loving parent of sorts.
You can probably see how this could potentially be a bad idea. And obviously, since it’s a movie, we know that things will eventually become less cheery.
Hahn is known for her comedic roles, with Step Brothers putting her on the map. She later joined NBC’s Parks and Recreation and most recently showed up in a supporting role in the comedy We’re the Millers. All those roles, though, didn’t give her the spotlight. However, Soloway does let Hahn steal the show, and I couldn’t be happier with the performance. It’s overdue…
…and unfortunately going to be under-appreciated. While not Hahn’s fault in the least, when the movie inevitably spirals out-of-control, it degrades the product more than most movies with similar problems. Afternoon Delight is unapologetically blunt and graphically dirty, but that eventually runs its course.
It’s the third act that’s tougher to shake. For those interested, I won’t reveal exactly what happened.
Instead, I’m going to switch back to some more of the positives. I spent a significant amount of time on Hahn, but Juno Temple also turns heads with her performance. Given the role of the helpless stripper, it’d seem like quite the hole to dig (there has to be a dirty joke in there somewhere)…but she pulls it off.
Although the tonal pendulum swings from comedy to strictly drama near the end, the first half (or so) of the film is legitimately funny, with Hahn being the primary reason. In the end, Afternoon Delight will probably go down as a failure. I can’t imagine it has a huge audience, despite the names we know (Hahn, Temple, Radnor and the previously unmentioned Jane Lynch), because of the graphic content and the disappointing climax (ha!). However, I implore you to give it a shot if you can handle raunchy movies and want to see Kathryn Hahn at her very best.
Afternoon Delight is available in limited release starting tomorrow for L.A. and N.Y.C. audiences. Check here for complete playdate details.
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