Digging For Fire

 

            There's so much dialogue that it bleeds over from one scene to another.  But it's everyday kind of conversation;  nothing all that profound, really---but somehow at the end it adds up into a weird kind of young-married love story.

            Tim (Jake Johnson, who also co-wrote the screenplay) and Lee (Rosemarie DeWitt) are a married couple with a three-year-old.  He's a schoolteacher on summer break; she's a yoga instructor.  A couple of rich clients of hers offer their nice house in the woods to stay in while they're on a long vacation.  So Tim and Lee enjoy getting out of their cramped duplex for a while, and there's something about being out of their regular environment that shakes something loose in both of them.

            He happens to find a buried bone on the property, and that makes him obsessed about digging more to see what else he can find.  He calls the police, but they tell him to call back if he finds an actual body.  Lee's not at all interested in any of that; she'd rather he work on the taxes.  Soon they realize they're at an impasse, which she deals with by calling her Mom and asking if she and her husband can keep the kid for a night.  Then she calls her best friend, who's also married, and plans a Girls Night Out with her.

            Tim happily sends his wife and kid off to Grandma's, and instead of doing the taxes, invites over a bunch of guy friends to drink beer, smoke a little weed, and swim in the pool.  Some of them even get interested in his excavating expedition, and they find a handgun, an old license plate, and more bones. The drugs escalate to some cocaine, and suddenly one of the guys has asked over a couple of “tarts”, who aren't hookers, actually, but one, Alicia (Anna Kendrick) is happy to party with the guys, and jump in the pool in her underwear and make out a little bit, and the other, Max (Brie Larson) digs in the garden with Tim. 

            Yes, we're kind of playing with fire here.  But nobody's done anything that amounts to permanent relational damage....yet.  Meanwhile, Lee is really disappointed that her friend has decided to stay home with her husband and two kids, leaving Lee to try to go out on the town alone.  She walks into a restaurant/bar that looks trendy, except immediately some guy starts hitting on her, which another guy at the bar tries to solve by asking the first guy to leave.  That gets a little physical, and the Knight In Shining Armor winds up with a nasty cut on his head.

            Ben (Orlando Bloom) is his name, and when Lee insists he needs stitches, he says he hates hospitals but he knows a girl who can help him out, who turns out to be....Alicia.  And no, it's not the big reveal where she was partying last night, but it's the writers adding a little more tension, as they do when Max goes out to dinner with Tim, happily borrowing one of Lee's dresses, which Tim doesn't think is weird at all.  They come back to the big house in a playful mood, but somehow the ambience dissipates when another drinking buddy shows up, so Max just leaves.  And no, Tim insists, you can't take the dress with you.

            Meanwhile, Ben and Lee go back to his place, where he cooks her a very nice steak dinner, and sharing a bottle wine, they walk on the beach together and kiss by the moonlight....but that's as far as it goes.  More playing with fire, which Lee clearly enjoys, but that's enough.  She heads back, not to her folk's house, but to go see Tim, who has been digging some more, but found something that really creeped him out...the intact bones of a human hand.  He decides this is too much, and fills the hole back up.  Experiment over.

            Yeah, it got a little weird for both of them for a little while there, but it made them realize how valuable they are to each other.  It's a strange kind of marital rom-com when the tension involves both of them flirting with potential disaster, but somehow it works.  It's small-scope, indie-film kind of stuff, but it's also thirty-ish folks trying to figure it out, stumbling around the best way they can.  Which is the only way for any of us.

 

Questions for Discussion:

1)                  Have you ever been married or in a LTR and found yourself flirting with someone else?  What was going on there?

2)                  If you answered “Yes” to 1), did you tell your spouse/significant other?  Why or why not?

3)                  Does getting away from your normal routine encourage you to try new things?  Why is that?

 

Dr. Ronald P. Salfen is the Supply Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Kaufman, Texas