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Soundtrack review: All nighter (Alec Puro – 2017)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: All nighter (Alec Puro – 2017)


“All Nighter” is a 2017 American comedy film directed by Gavin Wiesen and written by Seth W. Owen. The film stars Emile Hirsch, J. K. Simmons, and Kristen Schaal. When a globe-trotting, workaholic father (Simmons) trying to visit his daughter on a last minute layover in Los Angeles discovers that she’s disappeared, he forces her awkward, nervous ex-boyfriend (Hirsch), still nursing a broken heart, to help him find her over the course of one increasingly crazy night. Alec Puro wrote the score.

The opening cue “Open” puts me straight up in a great and jolly mood; it’s the kind guitar and banjo cue that I would always start a road movie with because it’s full of hope and joy and as playful as they get. I like the sound of the banjo and maybe the whole score will have it. Comedies are not easy to score as the composer has to find the right balance between monkeying around, emotion and melancholy; it’s not always easy even for me to listen to and write about comedy scores because I can’t always connect to them very well.

In this case though the composer chose to go use very few instruments and to my joy he gave his music a road trip stride with percussion and alert strings; “Porn driving” is a simple and enjoyable cue that becomes almost hummable by the time it’s over. There’s also a clapping sound and a repetitive guitar motif that I like a lot. Somehow this score reminds me of the one for “Little Miss Sunshine” from a few years back. I enjoy this kind of cue once, then twice but it becomes a bit repetitive from the third time on. I have heard this kind of score before in comedies and I appreciate that it’s not slapstick comedy music because I have a hard time listening to that but still, it is that light guitar sound that can go with anything. This is one instance where I am not upset that the score is only 25 minutes long. The thing is I am listening to the album out of context and maybe this music works much better with the support of the humour in the movie. I can imagine gags or funny moments having this undertone but as a standalone listen is just not enough to get me to connect with it.

I enjoy the percussion moments and the return if the banjo towards the end because they bring a different energy to the score and take it a bit out of that light guitar comfort zone. There’s also a bit of Americana in the love theme “Martin and Ginnie” which makes the time pass faster. “All nighter” is light and breezy and I imagine it works much better int he context of the movie.

Cue rating: 74 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 1 / 26

Album excellence: 4%


Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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