Review: The Intervention

Melanie Lynskey, Clea DuVall, Jason Ritter, Alia Shawkat, Cobie Smulders, Vincent Piazza, and Ben Schwartz at The Intervention

The Intervention features 4 couples in various stages of coming together or falling apart. They gather for a weekend with a crackpot plan to stage an intervention in the marriage of one of the couples.

Clea DuVall wrote and directed this low budget indie. It was filmed in mere days in a gorgeous location in Georgia. She also acted and produced. It reminds me of how Joss Whedon invited his friends to his place for the weekend and made Much Ado About Nothing in 2 days. Except Whedon doesn’t act.

Clea DuVall and Melanie Lynskey in The Intervention

If one of the characters could be said to have to the lead in this ensemble cast, it would be Melanie Lynskey as Annie. She decides that Ruby (Cobie Smulders) and Peter (Vincent Piazza) fight too much and should get a divorce. She convinces Ruby’s sister Jessie (DuVall) that it’s a smart idea. She brings all their long-time friends from around the country to join her in her meddling – er, intervention.

Who shows up? Jessie brings her girlfriend of 3 years, Sarah (Natasha Lyonne). Jessie still hasn’t committed to moving in with Sarah after all this time, but hey, they love each other. Annie’s fiancé Matt (Jason Ritter) is there. Annie’s postponed the wedding 4 times, but hey, she plans to get married. Jack (Ben Schwartz) shows up with 22 year old Lola (Alia Shawkat) who doesn’t know what M*A*S*H is. Don’t even think about mentioning The Big Chill. But hey, something horny and mindless is good right now.

The last to arrive are Ruby and Peter, who argue their way up to the front door with barely a pause to tell everyone hello. Cobie Smulders broke her leg the day before filming began, and they worked it into the story. She’s handy with those crutches.

We don’t get to know any of the characters well. We know them well enough to recognize that they are real people bringing real issues to the weekend. It isn’t that easy to tell anyone the truth about their marriage, or their drinking, or their flirting, or their grieving. We get some insight into what each character is dealing with. The weekend helps remove some of the blinders people were wearing about their own problems. I wouldn’t call it a happy ending, but it was a positive ending. Most importantly, the friends are still friends at the end.

As an audience, we get some laughs, we get some tears, we get some depth. Clea DuVall can do everything Joss Whedon can, and do it backwards and in high heels. I’m looking forward to more from her.

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