“The Intervention” Wants a Divorce

Actor/writer/director Clea DuVall‘s new film The Intervention, which I think went straight to VOD at Amazon and elsewhere, as described by IMDB: “A weekend getaway for four couples takes a sharp turn when one of the couples discovers the entire trip was orchestrated to host an intervention on their marriage.”

Hmmm…Intimate friendship group meets for an intense weekend…Where else have we seen this?

As far as I can tell, you won’t find one Intervention review that doesn’t, in a sense, ask the same question. The answer: 1983’s The Big Chill. 

A sampling:

Sam Adams, The Wrap:  “…Clea DuVall’s Directorial Debut Has a Gen-X ‘Big Chill’ Factor.”

Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times, headlines her review “…‘The Big Chill’ For a New Generation.”

Susan Wloszczyna, rogerebert.com: “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.”

Further details of The Intervention plot courtesy of Dennis Harvey, Variety:

The group of thirtysomething friends who gather at an expansive family summer residence outside Savannah, owned by Jessie (DuVall), haven’t met there for some years; life got in the way of what had been an annual tradition. But now Annie (Melanie Lynskey) has orchestrated a reunion, one with a mission as yet unknown to the two who are its intended target. The others in on the plan — though more reluctantly, having bent to Annie’s considerable will — are Sarah (Natasha Lyonne), Jessie’s girlfriend in Los Angeles; Matt (Jason Ritter), Annie’s long-term fiance; and recently single Jack (Ben Schwartz), who’s brought along an otherwise uninvited stranger in the form of his new, discomfortingly young squeeze Lola (Alia Shawkat, serving a purpose a whole lot like Meg Tilly’s in ‘The Big Chill’).

(There it is again!)

Jessie’s sister Ruby (Cobie Smulders) and husband Peter (Vincent Piazza), who have three kids at home, are the unwitting intervention targets. Their relationship does indeed seem a downer—yet just maybe this young group of not-as-entrenched-in-couplehood types just isn’t attuned enough to their stronger traits.

Sam Adams, The Wrap, clarifies: “Peter and Ruby plainly loathe each other from the moment we see them, he yammering generic business-speak into his cellphone while she seethes in the passenger seat, but when they crush the opposing teams at charades, we’re reminded of the bond longtime couples share even when they’ve lost sight of how to love one another.”

Of course, those most into judging Peter and Ruby, we find out, don’t deserve their self-righteousness—they’ve got their own unexamined problems. Moreover, says one panner of The InterventionTodd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter, “…(N)o one here seems bright or in the least insightful, and everyone talks the same way, with the same vocabularies and basic outlooks.”

But despite some criticism of The Intervention, many reviewers, including me, actually found it worthwhile. Kevin P. Sullivan, Entertainment Weekly, is a good example: “Tears are shed. Laughs are had. Some jokes land better than others. The script wobbles between heavy-handed and touching, but the result is a pleasantly nostalgic throwback that’s saved from its copy-cat tendencies by charismatic actors.”

Watch the trailer and you’ll not only glimpse the various couples involved but will also live to catch one more Big Chill reference:

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