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When the Night Doesn’t Go as Desired: Double Date (2017)

It’s a lot easier to get what you want when you don’t question the circumstances that made everything come together. Jim has always been someone who’s put weight in his misgivings. When a relationship doesn’t feel right, he’s ready to walk away, and if that means he’s about to celebrate his thirtieth birthday a virgin, there’s a line he’s not prepared to cross to have sex by any means possible.

His friend, Alex, has no such qualms. Displaying a willingness to take advantage that makes him a liability beyond being a terrible wingman, his involvement in trying to get Jim laid tends to make matters worse. He’s able to find women willing to have sex with Jim, but with a complete disregard for their sobriety at the time.

It’s because of Alex that Jim approaches sisters Kitty and Lulu, and when their interest in him continues after a clumsy first impression, he’s weary of the red flags. Again, thanks to Alex, he ignores his mounting suspicions and the four decide to meet for a double date, but Jim’s instincts were correct. Their night doesn’t go as desired.

The trouble with Double Date is that it focuses on the wrong pair of friends. There’ve been plenty of Jim’s and Alex’s before, trying to get with women, but it’s the story of Kitty and Lulu that hasn’t been told. As far as Double Date is concerned, it never will be. Whatever ritual the sisters are trying to serve with a man killing spree, the short answer ends up being the same as the long. The film keeps you waiting for some greater explanation than the simple line it provides early-in. No such answer ever comes, and while they could’ve drawn out a whole mythology from the girls’ family tree, everything’s kept aggravatingly brief.

Besides their characters begging for something more to do, every scene actresses Georgia Groome and Kelly Wenham have together shows golden promise. From the opening, that’s a less stylistic, more comedic nod to The Hunger, to Kitty’s fight moves, which have all the charisma of a bout on Glow but with injury. Double Date should’ve realized they were underutilized.

In contrast, a lot of time and thought is put into Jim’s characterization, whose unluckiness makes the most well-meaning act a stumble. Remembering that he’s meant to visit his parents for his birthday, Jim decides to give up on the date he thinks is failing. When Lulu opts to go with instead, he finds himself introducing her to some embarrassing family customs. Without acting miserable, or curbing his participation, Jim is the nice guy the movie says he is, and that shows in the way he’s written and how Danny Morgan plays him.

Unfortunately, Alex could sabotage that goodness as well. Despite Double Date trying every classic movie trick to redeem Alex (like introducing his dad to show how he grew up), he’s ready to drug his friends without their consent or knowledge. Michael Socha’s charm can go a long way but it can’t make that decision acceptable, and it can’t make Jim enabling Alex by saying nothing ok. It’s a huge discrepancy in Jim’s otherwise moral image, and a sticking point against seeing him as the hero Double Date wants him to be. Double Date is upfront about condemning murder. It needs to be upfront about this as well.

It’s a lot easier to get what you want when you don’t question the circumstances that made everything come together. Jim has always been someone who’s put weight in his misgivings. When a relationship doesn’t feel right, he’s ready to walk away, and if that means he’s about to celebrate his thirtieth birthday a virgin, there’s a line he’s not prepared to cross to have sex by any means possible. His friend, Alex, has no such qualms. Displaying a willingness to take advantage that makes him a liability beyond being a terrible wingman, his involvement in trying to get Jim…

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About Rachel Bellwoar

Rachel Bellwoar is the Comics Editor at That's Not Current and a contributing writer for Flickering Myth. Her first Alfred Hitchcock movie was Rear Window and she questions the value of the binge model for watching television — much better to avoid endings. Having found out who killed Laura Palmer, she compensates by watching as many David Lynch films as possible.

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