“[H]ubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of knowledge, interest in, and exploration of history, combined with a lack of humility…[the implication] that suffering or punishment will follow, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and Nemesis in the Greek world and the proverb ‘pride goes before a fall.’”
– Definition of Hubris, Wikipedia.com
Barry is single, low in confidence, and cannot get a date. His not-so-happily-married friend Jeremy is arrogant, self-confident, and eager for some action on the side. Jeremy has set up fake profiles for the two of them online, and is excited when he receives invitations for an exclusive speed-dating service called Hush-Hush Inc. He invites Barry and three other friends to come along, and although these men initially seem to be a handful of hopeless rejects, it soon becomes apparent that they have a much more subtle plan in the works. Jeremy has instructed the other three men to behave as disgusting and repulsive as they can in order to make the balding, Polka-dancing Barry seem like a much better man. What follows is a hilarious sequence of dialogue as the men do everything from inviting the girls to participate in “sex therapy” sessions, to saying that they live in their mother’s basement, to telling one woman that her sex change operation barely shows.
However, by the end of the evening it becomes rapidly apparent that there’s more to Hush-Hush than the pretty girls and secretive atmosphere. The girls have a few tricks of their own to pull on these wannabe Casanovas.
This was a really great story. It’s a rather common plotline – a single guy who’s too shy to ask a girl out gets some help from his buddies. But this film also adds some interesting twists – when you think that all the rest of Barry’s friends are just complete morons and Jeremy is especially sleazy for trying to cheat on his wife – you come to find out that they are all intentionally acting like disgusting pigs in order to get their buddy a date. Those are some pretty nice friends, if you ask me! This film does a very good job at adding little twists along the way to keep the audience interested.
The use of narration was also a great element of this film, because it added a psychology to both Barry’s and Jeremy’s characters. Perhaps my favorite voice-over segment was just before the men are about to enter Hush-Hush. Barry’s voice breaks in and says, “At that point I should’ve done a 360 and gotten out of there.” At which point Jeremy’s voice interrupts and corrects Barry, telling him that it’s a “180,” not a “360.” The two of them continue to argue in a voice-over which ends with Jeremy telling Barry that the director would be mad at him for talking through his movie. There are several such narration sequences within the movie that are really very funny.
My one complaint was with the acting done by Jeremy’s wife Mary. It seemed very over-the-top, even for a comedy like this. Her acting seemed too forced to be genuine. In fact, I really couldn’t blame Jeremy for wanting to step out on her like he did. This could possibly be fixed by some well-placed ADR, just to tone her down a little bit.
The visual look of the film was quite impressive. I especially liked the setting for the Hush-Hush dating service, which started out in a rather ominous-looking warehouse, then proceeded to a shadowy room with brightly-colored draperies on the walls and small tables with little lights on them. When the girls entered the room, their dresses seemed to compliment the multi-colored effect that looked to have been created with gelled lights.
The editing was very good, and I really appreciated the way the speed dating scene was put together. In the sequence where everyone was talking about themselves, the editor cut the screen into fourths and put a different segment of action in each one. Then by fading the audio in and out, they were able to control which dialogue the viewer was listening to without overly confusing them. This was far more interesting than just cutting back and forth between discussions.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the visual look was the camera shots used during the speed dating scene. There were several high-angle shots, and many unique moving shots. As moving shots are very difficult to set up and execute, I’m very impressed that the director was able to pull so many of them off.