“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 history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.