A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
A group of friends gather for a weekend at a picturesque getaway and become embroiled in each other’s personal business. Old grievances are aired and new grudges materialize. Alcohol is mass-consumed and hanky-panky is pursued. Silly games are played and shouting matches ignite. Lies are revealed and truths are shared. It’s a reliable setup straight out of 1983’s “The Big Chill” (which was preceded and perhaps influenced by 1980’s “The Return of the Secaucus 7”) with its batch of baby-boomer college chums who find themselves reunited for a mutual acquaintance’s funeral.
“The Intervention,” on the other hand, is more like a wake thrown by disillusioned Gen-X’ers as they mourn the crumbling marriage of one of the four couples present. Instead of reverting to behavior from their youthful pasts like their counterparts in “The Big Chill,” these 30-somethings are stuck in a self-deluded limbo when it comes to acting like adults. Forget smoking pot and dancing to Motown oldies. They sneak outside for cigarettes, play a lame version of kickball and can’t seem to summon enough passion for their partners to actually complete the act of sex. There are laughs but mostly of the rueful variety.
This first feature directed by actress Clea DuVall does get a bit of a cultish lift from the fact that her cast features three key players from 1999’s gay-themed “But I’m a Cheerleader”—Melanie Lynskey, Natasha Lyonne and DuVall herself. And, as before, Lyonne and DuVall are a lesbian twosome. The trio of accomplished ladies do their part to make this less-than-original dramedy at least watchable as does the pretty Savannah, GA, locales.
Still, the central presumptuous notion that one should feel entitled to encourage the dissolution of a troubled marital relationship in this manner somehow feels off. Few people would take kindly to such an intrusion upon their private lives. Perhaps it is for the best that DuVall, who is also the screenwriter, provides plenty of buildup—too much of it involving long shots of the cast lounging around a coffee table, a kitchen table or a picnic table—before the inevitable uncomfortable confrontation arrives.