The Freebie
Look, it’s just that your ponytail is throwing me off … it’s weird.

Theatrical Release Date: 11/12/2010
Director: Katie Aselton
Cast: Dax Shepard, Katie Aselton, Ross Partridge, Frankie Shaw


Yeah, that’s me in “Zathura”.

Getting a limited release in San Diego, Portland and Philadelphia this week is actress/writer/director Katie Aselton’s “The Freebie”. In the film, she and Dax Shepard play a married couple at a crossroads. Having fallen into the patterns of a long-term relationship, the intimacy spark has fizzled out. They agree to allow each other to seek satisfaction elsewhere for one night only, hoping the experiment will rekindle their passion.

Aselton approaches this in a very naturalistic manner. Whether she specifically took notes from her real-life husband, director Mark Duplass, on how to create believable on-screen relationships or not, she takes the mundane aspects of how people interact in order to give audiences a real portrait of two people trying to find their way back to each other.

Even though their methods may seem extreme, it’s a honest and sincere attempt by Aselton to explore aspects of relationships not every couple is comfortable expressing out loud. What’s perhaps most impressive though is that Aselton isn’t just asking a hard question and letting one decision decide the fate of the characters. There’s an earnest attempt to showcase the importance of communication and how difficult that can be when relationships begin to go off the rails.

Make no mistake, watching some moments of the film was emotionally taxing and this may well be the worst first date movie of 2010. However, that speaks to the powerful nature of Shepard and Aselton’s performances. It took me back to experiences in my own life and the film’s ability to force that introspection is what makes it such a worthwhile cinematic experience. Showing once again that it’s the hidden gems that make being an avid film lover worth all that wading through mediocre and pre-packaged crap, Aselton’s sure-handed direction and script provide a sincere look at intimacy in long term relationships and earns “The Freebie” a 4 out of 5.

4 out of 5