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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Movie review: The Freebie

The Freebie, 2010

The Freebie is a film based on the concept that a married couple, Annie and Darren, are going to open their marriage for one night. Each can have a one-night stand in the hopes it will bring sexual excitement back to their otherwise wonderful relationship.

They have the requisite talks ahead of time and are open with each other about what will happen. Ground rules are that they will each have a one-night stand, nothing more, and they will not talk about what each of them has done. Basically a one-night free pass to sleep with someone else.

Things go pretty well until after the night comes and they each supposedly have their affairs. Then the doubts and jealousy kick into gear and things get ugly quick. Neither wants to believe the other when they start fighting and they both imagine more than may have actually happened. This is supported by the film showing us both of them heading out on their dates for the night, becoming physically involved with another person, but not revealing whether they actually had sex or not.

Unfortunately, I'm making this film sound a lot more interesting than it actually is. Most of us have probably heard this story before so it is nothing new. The film doesn't really add anything to the story to make it more interesting than hearing it from a friend. It doesn't take a unique perspective or add any variety to the story. In the end it almost feels like a documentary of how not to try and add sexual spice to your relationship. Or maybe a primer on things to avoid when opening up your relationship.

The film is slow moving and lacks the emotion you would expect considering the topic. Acting was bland from both Aselton and Shepard though a few bits of comedy helped. And by the way, the film is billed as an Indie Comedy which it most definitely is not. I would classify this as a Drama or Indie Drama more than a comedy.

I was searching for poly or alternative lifestyle themed films when I stumbled across this one and have to say I walked away disappointed. The film just seemed to lack serious energy from most every aspect.

If you are an Indie Drama fan you might enjoy this one more than I did. If you are thinking about opening your relationship this might be a good film to watch first to give you some ideas of things to avoid. For everyone else, pass on this one.

Katie Aselton (Annie), Dax Shepard (Darren), Lenora Gershman (Lea), Ken Kennedy (Ken), Joshua Leonard (Dinner Party Guest), Sean Nelson (John), Ross Partridge (Bartender), Frankie Shaw (Coffee Girl).

Katie Aselton also Directed the film.


  1. Wow, we just watched this film last night ourselves.

    I was disappointed in it as well. For basically the reasons you have stated. I couldn't place exactly what I was feeling about it but your comment on the documentary of how not to do this seems to have hit the mark.

    It just left a flat feeling with me.

  2. Lovingmorethanone,

    "a flat feeling" is a very good description! Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone with my feelings about the film :)


  3. Are there ANY good poly/open movies out there? I think if you look closely, a lot of movies about sexuality turn out to be pretty narrow-they reinforce the traditional values of pair-bonding, and there is fallout for those who try to live outside that norm. Having sex outside a relationship inevitably leads to arguments and/or breakup in Hollywood. It's very disappointing.

    One great film I recently watched is Secretary with Maggie Gyllenhal and James Spader. It's SM, not poly, in flavour, but the protagonists wind up having a long term loving relationship while honoring their "deviant" sexualities. Excellent!

  4. Walkietalkieooo,

    LOL, I know what you mean. Good poly flicks are hard to find!

    Secretary was an excellent film! I enjoyed that one a lot.

    Some alternative lifestyle films (not specifically poly):
    Whatever Works - Woody Allen
    Dare - Emmy Rossum, Zach Gilford
    Better Than Chocolate - Wendy Crewson, Karyn Dwyer
    Consenting Adults - Kevin Kline, Mary Mastrantonio, Kevin Spacey
    A Small Circle of Friends - Karen Allen, Jameson Parker
    The Story of O - Udo Kier, Corinne Clery

    Some are good, some are okay, it just depends on your taste.

    Thanks for the comment :)

  5. Hmm. I just searched all of those out on Netflix, and not one of them is available. Coincidence?

  6. Walkietalkieooo,

    That is strange. I just checked and other than Dare, which is only available on DVD, all of them are available for instant viewing.

    I wonder if Netflix limits viewing options geographically?


  7. Walkietalkieooo,

    Just a quick follow-up. I did some searching and I couldn't find anything indicating Netflix limits titles geographically or anything explaining why those movies might be appearing as unavailable for you. Very strange.


  8. Hmmm. I'm in Vancouver, Canada. I'm going to follow up. Are you in the States? And you can see all of those on Netflix?

  9. Walkietalkieooo,

    Yep, I'm in the U.S. in Colorado. And yes, I can see all the movies I mentioned on Netflix.

    I'll be interested to hear what you find :)