Sometimes I go into a movie completely blind, which was the case with director Armağan Ballantyne’s film, Nude Tuesday (2022). When I saw the opening title cards, I was expecting the film to be in English. So, a few minutes in, I got curious as to what language they were speaking, only to find out the answer was quite commercial: gibberish. The dialogue in the film is imagined by English comedian Julia Davis, which is something that seems impossible and shouldn’t work at all…but somehow it does.
The plot – or at least the way the subtitles and the actions seem to tell – revolves around Laura (Jackie van Beek) and Bruno (Damon Herriman), whose marriage seems to be falling apart. On their anniversary, they are given by Bruno’s free-spirited mother a possible fix: she’s sending them to a couple’s retreat. The retreat is led by an eccentric and awkwardly forward guru (Jemaine Clement) who offers ideas on sexuality that are foreign to the married couple.
I can’t fully understand how this film was made. Improv seems challenging enough by saying “yes, and…” to someone who just said something in made-up sounds feels near impossible. How do you know how to react to what they just said if you don’t know what they just said? The very idea seems like an insurmountable obstacle that somehow the cast was able to achieve overcoming together. In fact, the characters here earn our empathy, and you are left hoping they find whatever it is they’re looking for because you care about them despite the absurdity of many situations.
There are several scenes that absolutely bring some laughter. Clement is often pushing the levels of absurdity in any roles he takes, but he’s not alone in this film. Honestly, an early scene involves Laura having to break a window in her car to retrieve her flash cards. She cuts herself and is bleeding all over her shirt and cards. Yet, she insists she’s ready to make her presentation on sexy adult diapers. The scene sets up the level of absurdity that the audience will experience.
Nude Tuesday is a wild experience that comedy film lovers will probably enjoy. It’s insane what the crew accomplished with this premise. Fortunately, the humor comes in waves, and it is hard not to laugh – even when some of the things don’t fully make sense. Nude Tuesday earns the Not Quite Golden, Ponyboy rating.