Afternoon Delight (2013)

Comedy, Drama
Kathryn Hahn, Juno Temple, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch
Rachel is a quick-witted and lovable stay-at-home mom. Frustrated with the realities of preschool auctions, a lackluster sex life and career that's gone kaput, Rachel visits a strip club to spice up her marriage and meets McKenna, a stripper she adopts as her live-in nanny.
  • The Film Arcade Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 11 Dec 2013 Released:
  • 18 Feb 2014 DVD Release:
  • $0.2M Box office:

Trailer:

Earnest, and surprisingly funny8/10
Afternoon Delight plays a bit like a Judd Apatow flick, from a female perspective. It's enjoyable, unexpectedly; after the first scene I sighed deeply expecting another film about about L.A. upper middle class problems. The film turned into something much more poignant.

Despite some automated plot cliches, the film plays earnestly and honestly, following a married couple as they struggle to keep the fire going in their relationship - not a plot I would have driven a mile to watch unfold. However the film is (mercifully) very funny, with a good eye for improv and dialogue, and it aims for the heart. For the most part it's on target - and it tackles some complicated grey-area issues that we all face in relationships.

Kathryn Hahn I'd seen (and hardly noticed) in Our Idiot Brother, but here she delivers an effective, multi dimensional performance.

A strong film, made better by the fact that I kind of stumbled upon it without previous expectations.
Worth a look5/10
This is an example of film I would never claim is great, but is certainly off the usual beaten (to death) path and therefore at is interesting at least.

The story is about a self-absorbed yuppie mother (Katherine Hahn) who tries to spice up her marriage by going to a strip club and then bringing home a lap dancer (Juno Temple) to be her nanny. I can imagine two movies immediately: it could be some late-night cable sexploitation thing where a hot woman discovers her inner stripper and lives happily (and sexily) ever after, OR it could be some half-assed feminist diatribe where two women from different social classes learn to relate to each other as they come to terms with the commodification of women by the patriarchy, yada, yada. Fortunately, this movie is neither. Instead it's kind of satirical black comedy about a not particularly sympathetic female character who in quest of some kind of sexual liberation makes a complete mess of her life, her new "friend's" life, and generally the lives of everyone around her.

It's also nice to find a movie about strippers that strikes a balance between pure exploitation and the kind "female empowerment" claptrap where Hollywood actresses take on "brave" role as strippers and sex workers, but strictly observe their iron-clad "no-nudity clauses" because that would somehow be giving in to "sexism". Both actresses bravely shed both their clothes and their need to ALWAYS maintain audience sympathy. Juno Temple's character is a proud "sex worker" who does what she does, not because she is either "exploited" or "empowered", but simply because it is a valid career choice. She's totally amoral--kind of like a sexy shark. Hahn's character is a self-loathing Jewish feminist who thinks she has less "hang-ups" than everyone around her when she probably has a lot more.

Hahn at times risks being completely unsympathetic, which may explain a lot of the negative reaction to this movie. It's really hard to dislike Juno Temple, but I think the fact that she's such a desirable little cutie who takes her clothes off in every other role sometimes overshadows what a talented actress she is. Yeah, she gets all the "nudie" roles her prudish American peers won't touch, but if you compare this to "Magic, Magic" to "Cracks" to the British "St. Trinian's" comedies she first appeared in, it's evident she has a lot more range and talent than she's given credit for. This movie is not a comedy masterpiece by any means, but it is certainly worth a look.
Makes you wonder if cinema in America is actually dead5/10
Making a film is hard, no one disputes that, and I have respect for the filmmaker for making this film. But if this is the best direction of American independent film of 2013 then the answer is simple, cinema is dead. The fact that this film has played almost nowhere in Europe (festival wise) shows the impact it has internationally and the limited view that somewhere like Sundance can have on the current state of cinema. I don't have any ill will towards Ms. Solowayl or her film, but cinema should be there to enlighten, excite, experiment, not play into cliches and formulas (in this case, the indie that really wants to be the next multiplex family train wreck). This film isn't terrible, it's just average, another movie, with some "names," used as a calling card to go on and help Ms. Soloway make more mediocre work. And as the protagonist says in the TV SET, "make the world more mediocre." Hopefully, before her next attempt, she'll actually watch some films (and learn about cinema), think about what she wants to say and try and do something as an artist that is, even mildly, important. And of course "important" is relative, but if this was the last film she could make, would this be the story she would want to tell? Really? If the answer is yes, then not only is cinema dead, but culture as well. In the days of TED talks, Starbucks alternative mix CDs, etc.. this fits in just fine. Something you think is radical, but when you really look at it critically, it's just more suburban POV, that has nothing more to say than, "our life is boring." We know that already. I give her a five, if nothing more, for effort.
So what WAS the point of the story??4/10
Okay. A young, bored housewife yearns to reconnect sexually with her often distracted husband. Whatever...On the suggestion of her friend she goes to a strip club and for SOME reason...both of the ladies get lap dances from strippers....Hmmm...while the men just enjoy the view from their seats. Sorry, but I'm not sure how getting a lap dance from a woman is supposed to heat things up with your hubby...but...OK..

She leaves oddly shaken and instead of getting jiggy with her hubby, she heaves into the toilet...OK....??? Left with a curiosity to learn how to shake her money maker, she sneaks on back to "get a coffee" near the strip club only to see McKenna waiting outside...later she is there when McKenna loses her place to live and needs a place to stay.

So, Rachel opens her home to McKenna...without telling her husband...OK..nice move..From here we see McKenna as a thoughtful and caring young woman. She massages Rachel's feet and begins to care for her son. But Rachel can't leave well enough alone..she wants to see McKenna in action. Unfortunately, upon see McKenna do the nasty, she is repulsed and from here on out she rejects McKenna. Her fantasy of a microwave redemption has been shot to hell.

Unfortunately, she has already asked McKenna to take care of some young girls while the ladies have their special night. We see McKenna sweetly preparing kits of make up and nail polish for the girls to have a princess night and seems genuinely excited...Only one problem...Rachel can't allow a "whore" to babysit these sweet young girls...so she does the brave and honorable thing...she asks her husband to go downstairs and tell her!!!! LAME!! Am I supposed to care about the sex life of a woman who doesn't even have the dignity to clean up her own mess.

So McKenna, feeling the sting of rejection, decides to fulfill Rachel's estimation of her and she whores it up with the boys downstairs. Sad and pointless scene. Whatever...in the end..McKenna goes back to wherever rejected strippers go Rachel and her husband rediscover their passion between the sheets..WHAT????

CAN SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME....What was the point???
Kathryn Hahn is one of the funniest women actors today but this really shows that she is more then just a comedic force.8/10
"If you think I can help you I promise you're not taking." Rachel (Hahn) is a stay-at-home mom who is bored with her life. In between her trips to her psychiatrist and helping with her son's preschool fund-raisers she is dealing with a non-existent sex life with her husband and repetitive routines everywhere else. One night, trying to spice things up, her and her husband go to a strip club where she meets McKenna (Temple) who she sees as a project and sets out to change her. This is a perfect example of a movie that is not done justice by its trailer. If you watch it you will expect a raunchy sex comedy. What this is a very personal and sometimes depressing movie about how a women goes to drastic measures to change her life. Kathryn Hahn is one of the funniest women actors today but this really shows that she is more then just a comedic force. The movie does have some funny moments in this but do not expect a laugh out loud comedy. This is a true dark dramedy about what a woman will do when she feels trapped. Overall, this is the definition of the saying "be careful what you wish for." A real surprise that I really liked and recommend. I give this an A-.