The first film to be written and directed by character actor and overall national treasure Clea DuVall, the charming The Intervention pulls off the “group of friends hash out their problems over a long weekend” story in a way that many other movies fail to do. Believing that something has to be done about the unhappy marriage of Peter (Vincent Piazza) and Ruby (Cobie Smulders), and that it’s up to their friends to do it, alcoholic Annie (Melanie Lynskey) and husband Matt (Jason Ritter) gather mutual friends. There’s Jessie (Duvall) and her age-appropriate girlfriend, Sarah (Natasha Lyonne, reuniting with her girlfriend from But I’m a Cheerleader), and Jack (Ben Schwartz) and his age-inappropriate girlfriend, Lola (Alia Shawkat), all of whom stage an intervention on Peter and Ruby’s marriage during a weekend getaway. As is to be expected with a cast this size, not everyone gets a chance to shine — Ritter is underused — but Schwartz reveals a dramatic range beyond his more familiar Jean-Ralphio and Rutabaga Rabitowitz personas. It is perhaps not a coincidence that as the writer and director, the openly queer DuVall not only explodes a particular myth about lesbians and compulsive cohabitation, but she also gets to be intimate onscreen to varying degrees with both Lyonne and Shawkat. It’s good to be king.
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