10   +   5   =  

Best friends Kate and Meg find themselves competing for the same man while waiting for their plane to take off from St. Louis.

Most people know William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher from Showtime’s “Shameless.” He is also an Academy Award-Nominated actor for his work in “Fargo” and also other high-quality movies such as “Seabiscuit,” “The Cooler,” “Magnolia,” and “Boogie Nights.” But a lot of people don’t know that he is also a very talented director who has helmed indie favorites “Lip Service,” “Rudderless,” and now “The Layover.” Having worked with such heavyweight filmmakers like Joel & Ethan Coen, Rob Reiner, and Paul Thomas Anderson, Mr. Macy has obviously learned a lot from them as he manages to infuse some genuinely affecting moments along with adult humor and infantile-style antics that actually work.

Meg (Kate Upton), a beauty consultant, and her best friend Kate (Alexandra Daddario), a high school teacher, have both had the week from hell so Meg decides to book them on a flight to Fort Lauderdale for Spring break for a little fun and relaxation. Once they are on board the plane, their dreams are fully realized when Ryan (Matt Barr), a hunky fireman on his way to Florida for a wedding, winds up sitting between them. Naturally, they try to outmaneuver each other for Ryan’s affections but when the captain informs everyone that a hurricane moving into Florida will divert them to St. Louis for the time being, when they land, both girls bid farewell to Ryan and check into their hotel. But as luck would have it, Ryan just happens to be staying at the same abode and with the storm bigger than originally predicted, causing their stay in St. Louis to be prolonged, both women resort to whatever means possible, to claim Ryan as their own.

In the hands of a less-capable director, “The Layover” could have very easily become a hackneyed, insipid bore, filled with clichéd trivialities that typically accompany stories of this ilk but thanks to Mr. Macy’s deft direction, and Ms. Upton and Ms. Daddario’s expert comic timing, the movie rolls along at a crackerjack pace, thus allowing every red-blooded male (and female), the pleasure of watching two beautiful women berate, cut down, and eventually, physically assault each other, all in the name of love. One of the funniest scenes unfolds as Meg, fully aware of Kate’s extreme fear of heights, suggests a balloon trip over St. Louis to Ryan and then feigning concern, acknowledges Kate’s fear and offers her the opportunity to wait on the ground until they return. Kate momentarily hesitates but then quickly composes herself and iterates that her fear is of flying in planes, not balloons, and joins them, much to Meg’s annoyance. Once in the air, their one-eyed balloon pilot tries to make known to them, all of the city’s landmarks but with fear getting the best of Kate, she pops open a bottle of champagne to help calm her nerves and the cork inadvertently hits their pilot in his eye, causing temporary blindness and airborne chaos.

The film will probably play in limited release and then quickly disappear from theaters but if you get the opportunity to see this gem on the big screen, go see it. It was a pleasant way to spend 90 minutes and so much better than a lot of the dreck that is currently passing as entertainment these days.

In theaters Friday, September 1st