Ginnie takes her boyfriend Martin to meet her father. Martin is a vegetarian with an allergy to red wine who plays the banjo for a “living” (it’s not much of one). Does Dad (let’s call him Mr. Gallo) hate him on sight? Of course he fucking does. The dinner does not go well.
Cut to: six months later, Mr. Gallo (JK Simmons) is pounding on Martin’s (Emile Hirsch) door. He’s in town just for the day and can’t seem to locate his daughter. Martin’s not much help since they broke up 3 months (and 9 days, but who’s counting?) ago. Does Mr. Gallo take no for an answer? No he does not.
So Martin sets out on an epic adventure with his ex-girlfriend’s disapproving dad to track down the woman he’s not really over. It becomes increasingly clear that she is over him, has gotten over him with lots of different guys in lots of different places. But where is she now? It’s a little alarming that none of her friends can say.
JK Simmons puts in a solid performance, his character a pretty comfortable fit for his on-screen persona. Emile Hirsch is a capable, sorry sidekick for him. If this is a buddy comedy, it’s a truly strange one, with an extremely oddball duo engaged in some extremely forced bonding. And while I was at least mildly entertained by All Nighter (at least one chuckle was audible), it’s the kind of movie you forget as soon as you turn it off. Director Gavin Wiesen seems intent on making the blandest choices possible until he just says fuck it and lets the thing descend into madcap absurdity. The bizarre set pieces aren’t even that interesting. Damn it, Hollywood: JK Simmons has a lifetime of incredible character-actor roles under his belt and now he has a damn Oscar from a star-making, powerhouse performance. What more do you want before you give this man some material worthy of his time? All Nighter’s not even close.