Like watching a train wreck in slow motion while an ignorant, arrogant engineer shovels more coal onto the fire, "Overnight" is a cautionary tale about the fickle nature of showbiz in which the victim is his own worst enemy. A documentary following the rapidly self-destructing, stalled-rocket career of Troy Duffy, a Boston bartender/bouncer who on a fluke landed a sweetheart writing-directing deal with Miramax Films in 1997, the film would be painful to watch if its subject weren't such an insufferable lunkheaded egomaniac.
The kind of boastful, booze-pounding tough guy who might get in bar fights for fun, Duffy sold Miramax's Harvey Weinstein on his vigilante-with-a-heart script called "The Boondock Saints," and was paid $300,000 up front. Then he was given a $15 million budget for the movie, on which he would have casting approval and final cut -- two creative controls Miramax rarely grants even to established cinematic geniuses. But as his friends film every moment for what Duffy clearly thinks will be a rise-to-glory making-of about his film and the illustrious career to come, this flash-in-the-pan refuses all advice and begins alienating powerful Hollywood players, burning bridges left and right.
Within weeks, no one at Miramax will take his calls. Over the next three years, Duffy clings desperately to his inflated sense of self-importance. "We have a deep cesspool of creativity here," insists the badly-in-need-of-a-dictionary wannabe filmmaker, whose self-proclaimed talent and vision are quite simply never on display. As for Miramax, "they're gonna pay dearly for saying no to us," Duffy barks, habitually swearing up a storm.
With his every blunder being captured for posterity, this documentary practically made itself. As such it's not an extraordinary movie by any means, and watching this debacle unfold isn't what I'd call entertaining, but the disaster story it tells is at once tragic, richly deserved and uncomfortably personal -- and that combination makes it fascinating. I don't know that it's worth spending $8 to $10 to see in theaters, but once it turns up on cable, anyone with an interest in seeing how Hollywood can chew someone up and spit him out shouldn't miss it.