More noise than signal

One Night Stand

Republished from the show notes of my other site, Fuds on Film.

To be honest I don’t think I’d even heard of One Night Stand before this round of Snipe-chat, which is perhaps a little odd given that it’s Mike Figgis’ follow up to the very successful Leaving Las Vegas, which I was very impressed with back in the day. This sees Snipes as Max Carlyle, a successful commercial director, seemingly happily married to Ming-Na’s Mimi.

He’s rather pointlessly narrating this directly to us when he meets up with estranged former best friend, Robert Downey Jnr’s Charlie, who has found out he has HIV. On the return trip home, he crosses paths with Nastassja Kinski’s Karen, and impulsively sleep together. However, this one night stand boom title drop has wider impact over the coming year, as fate, or narrative convenience, throws them together time and time again, particularly after the reveal that Karen is Charlie’s brother’s wife – said brother being played by Kyle MacLachlan.

We have, to a degree, come full circle, at least in terms of criticism of these films. Just like Jungle Fever it has a soundtrack that stomps all over the dialogue, and like Jungle Fever, it’s throwing a lot of stuff on race relations, romantic relationships, commitment, fidelity on the table, and inviting you to make your own narrative out of it, as it’s certainly not going to bother. However, it’s much, much worse than Jungle Fever, which at least felt that it had a direction it wanted to go in.

One Night Stand just wanders aimlessly in a circle for an hour and a half and then stops, wasting some half decent turns from all involved in the service of, well, I’m not sure what. It’s commercial failure was richly deserved, and I’m not sure I’ve got all that much to say about the actual film.

The production of it, though… oh boy. Apparently Joe Eszterhas gets paid two and a half million dollars for a four page outline, which becomes a script Figgis more or less entirely ignores and half improvises? This sort of decision could only be made by execs on the same level of drugs that Downey Jnr was on during filming, immediately after checking himself into rehab on finishing as, well, he was about as close to death as his character here was. What a clustercuddle, To be honest I’m surprised it’s not worse.

It is, however, bad, and should be ignored.