“The Freebie”? I guess you get what you pay for. Or in the case of Katie Aselton’s debut feature, you pay for what you get: Darren and Annie, a happy yet weirdly discontent thirtysomething Los Angeles couple (Dax Shepard, Aselton), married for seven years, decide to grant each other a get-out-of-love card for a fast fling to liven up their deathly sex life. High concept remains on low boil. The pair do a swell job of capturing the in-between moments of how the couple regard each other; the semi-improvised script itself remains sketchy. Bring on any random episode of “How I Met Your Mother” for a more fraught pile of ideas about modern relationships and recurrent pitfalls. Aselton is married to Mark Duplass, co-director of “Cyrus,” a film with more freakishness than tenderness; at least Aselton gets the quiet moments very, very right. With Houston Wages. 77m. (Ray Pride)
“The Freebie” plays Friday and Wednesday-Thursday at Siskel.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published soon. Previews of the project are on Twitter and on Instagram as Ghost Signs Chicago. More photography on Instagram.