“Who Invited Them” earmarks every potential source of drama and/or satire, to the point where, about 21 minutes into the movie, Tom elbows viewers’ in the ribs when he exclaims “We’re the neighbors.” There’s also no sustaining tension to unite the film’s two couples, not between Adam and Margo—“You used to love parties.” “Did I?”—nor Tom and Sasha, whose biggest quirk seems to be that they’re both kind of bratty. Tom eventually explains to Adam that he and Sasha like Adam and Margo too much to hurt them. Oh well, that might have been fun.
Once you get an idea of what’s basically dysfunctional about these two couples, there’s only so many more places that the movie can go. But the main cast members’ performances, especially Granaderos and Hansen, are not to blame; their characters are as obnoxious and obvious as their respective partners’ well-enunciated and subsequently abandoned personalities. All four main cast members do their best, but “Who Invited Them” only slightly perks up towards the end, once Tom and Sasha’s well-guarded plans finally go off-the-rails.
Until then, the most intriguing part of Birmingham’s movie has to be an inconsistent subplot involving Adam and Margo’s young son Dylan (Kalo Moss), who spends most of the movie sleeping over at a friend’s nearby home. That friend’s mother, Teeny (Tipper Newton), takes a long drive back to Adam and Margo’s house after Dylan wakes up and complains that he can’t go back to bed without his Pookie (a stuffed monkey). Teeny disappears for a while, and only re-emerges twice, the first time after 30 more minutes. I wish there was a stronger shaggy dog anti-climax to Teeny’s story (I thought of John Cleese’s Sir Lancelot rushing Prince Herbert’s castle in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”). There isn’t, because “Who Invited Them” never fully commits to that or any other bit.
Now playing on Shudder.