The spare mattress has been dragged to the living room and the kids are well asleep and it’s just Reservoir Mum and me, an illegally downloaded movie or two, and a chemistry bubbling between us that’s so volatile and on edge that I’m worried the test tube may spill its contents before it gets the chance to meet the Petri dish.
I’m perched against a couple of pillows with a whisky on ice and RM is sipping a sugar free Creaming Soda and on RM’s lap is some plasticky faux-buttered popcorn steaming through the mouth of its crinkly microwave bag.
The two movies I’ve chosen are This Is 40 because we both love semi-romantic comedies that examine relationship dynamics by taking them to extremes, and porn flick Forrest Hump because we both love semi-romantic comedies that examine relationships by taking them to extremes.
I’m pleased that This Is 40 opens with a shower-sex scene but it’s unfortunately cut short when Pete (Paul Rudd) tells wife, Debbie (Leslie Mann) that he’s taken some Viagra to start her 40th birthday of with a real bang. She’s not very happy about that and he can’t understand why and it makes for a very funny start.
‘I’ve been thinking about taking some Viagra,’ I say to RM after we bump hands groping for some popcorn.
‘Because then it’s just always there, you know, ready to go, ’ I say. ‘It’s like taking out one of the variables. We wouldn’t be influenced by its rise and fall. We’d be more in sync too… more compatible because we’d both have sexual organs that were ready to go, all the time. Yeah! We could both have multiple orgasms… although there might be like an hour between each of mine… but you could keep going even after I’d finished! And I promise I’ll pretend to still be enjoying it even if I’m not…’
RM laughs and says. ‘You’d probably just fall asleep.’
‘But I’ll be on Viagra, RM. So it wouldn’t matter.’
Despite my relentless prattling we manage to follow the movie along and that simple fact is adding stars to my review. This Is 40 is dead-set funny. Pete and Debbie are flawed and lovable and the situations they find themselves in, and the issues they face, are very relatable to 38 year old RM and 39 year old me.
I’m engrossed in another humorous, qausi-emotional scene and am just about to shove a handful of popcorn in my mouth, when RM leans over to me and says, ‘Can you stop crinkling and crackling so much?’
She’s caught me completely off guard. I’m confused. ‘Do you mean when I reach in to the packet… or when I’m chewing the popcorn inside my mouth?’
‘When you reach in to the packet. Listen…’ she says, as she reaches into the packet and pulls out a handful of popcorn without taking her eyes off me and without making a sound.
‘What are you? Some kind of fricken ninja?’ I say.
She sits back with a smug look on her face and suddenly the chemistry between us is a little less bubbly, a little less likely to erupt. I make one more attempt to retrieve some popcorn but the crinkling I make is so noticeable now that it’s even frustrating to me.
While RM is laughing at a humorous scene I notice three popcorn pieces on my t-shirt and I’m just as excited as that time I found ten dollars in the back pocket of some old jeans… until I put the popcorn in my mouth.
It occurs to me that RM is so switched on to annoying noises now that crunching popcorn inside my head will also rouse her ninja glare. It takes several minutes before the popcorn turns to mush inside my motionless jaw and even though I am staring at the TV screen the whole time – aware on some level that there are images and sounds coming from it – I take nothing in until Debbie locks a door and says to Pete, ‘Do you want a blowjob?’ As the mush slides towards my throat I wriggle a bit on the mattress to hide the sound of my swallow.
Pete and Debbie are having a really good time and I take the chance to reach out for RM’s hand but suddenly their kids are at the door banging against it and Pete is doing his best to diffuse the situation and send them away by saying, ‘Your Mum’s busy. Go downstairs’ but this only incites them more and they start screaming and fighting and crying and thrashing against the door until Debbie loses her focus on the task at hand, lifts her head up, has a classic loss of parental control moment, and screams at the top of her lungs, ‘Stop crying! Just go away!’ RM and I erupt with laughter.
I find my first reservation about this great Date Night flick as it moves towards its conclusion – it seems to be just a tad long. A tiny bit draggy. But – to be fair – I am watching the clock because I’m really keen to have sex before one of the kids wake up. Plus, that fricken popcorn packet is a constant distraction that makes every minute seem like two. Its open end is gaping at me and even though I desperately want to dip inside and pluck at its sweet fruit, I am so paranoid I imagine it closing around my wrist and bleating loudly at RM like a slapped lamb.
The ending of This Is 40 is sweet and wonderful and as the credits roll, I also roll towards RM, and there is a moment where we smile at each other in a complete way – with eyes and lips and souls – until I pull her towards me with final romantic urgency and squash the empty popcorn packet between us. It’s super-loud rock concert surround-sound crinkling and crackling seems to last forever as we roll into each other and then away from each other.
The chemistry is threatening to fizz out. A moment of silence passes before RM magically fixes everything and puts Date Night back on course by choosing the perfect line, ‘I think I might need to try some of that Viagra now.’
RD’s Date Night Movie Review
3.8 out of 5 stars
(Forrest Hump was also perfectly suited to the task it was intended for)