AFTERNOON DELIGHT

Save a stripper, save yourself. That appears to be the message of the promising, but ultimately flawed AFTERNOON DELIGHT. Rachel (Kathryn Hahn) is a stay-at-home mother who lives in Silver Lake. Now before you dismiss it just because of the location no, it’s not filled with hipster douchebags or insufferable yuppies. These are real people who don’t seem outsized in a fakey movie way. Life with her husband Jeff (Josh Radnor) is unsatisfying both emotionally and sexually. They go to a strip club to spice things up. That’s where Rachel gets a lap dance from “McKenna” and figures, “hey, I know what will make me feel fulfilled… saving a stripper from a life of sex work”. As the movie plods along, we figure out that McKenna doesn’t need saving, it’s Rachel who is completely lost. AFTERNOON DELIGHT is filled with awkward moments as Rachel tries to help. Or is Rachel becoming enamoured with McKenna’s freedom and comfort in the life of a sex worker. It’s all very obtuse and left in some part to the audiences own interpretation. Jill Soloway’s direction and writing are sometimes stilted and awkward, but at times brilliant and heart-wrenching. What elevates the material is the cast, particularly Kathryn Hahn. She is simply fantastic. Think of the most awkward drunky-truthy scene you’ve ever watched and the one in this movie is equal to it. Blissfully short at only 95 minutes, AFTERNOON DELIGHT could have been so much worse (think Lifetime movie), but it also could have been quite a bit better. — Alan Yudman

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