Nikhail Asnani writes, stars, and directs The Invite. The filmmaker doesn’t just star in this “comedy.” Asnani is, in fact, the only actor who appears on the screen. Yes, “comedy” is in quotes for a reason, but that’ll come in due time. For now, let’s focus on what the movie is about.
Nikhail (himself) is preparing to throw himself a birthday party. To that end, he calls up a bunch of friends, all of whom seem quite famous, hoping they’ll RSVP. Once that’s done, he calls them to discuss a hundred different wardrobe changes to the upcoming festivities. Then Nikhail takes some edibles, and things take a strange turn for the main character.
Excluding some specific details and avoiding spoilers, that is all that happens for the entire 85 excruciating minutes of The Invite. The only character is seen in vertical boxes, making phone calls, backhandedly complimenting the unknown person he’s talking to, and complaining about the stress of planning the party. Rinse, repeat, groan. The first issue with the film is how repetitive it is. 95% of the time, Nikhail is in his apartment. As such, there’s a distinct lack of visual interest or engagement.
“…calls up a bunch of friends, all of whom seem quite famous, hoping they’ll RSVP.”
Furthermore, aside from the sound of a ringing phone, there’s nothing to listen to aside from the actor’s intentionally whiny affectations. It is unbearable in the worst ways possible. Thanks to the lack of location changes and the poor story structure, the time between each phone call is all but impossible to figure out until the movie is almost over (apparently, the party is at least a month away in the beginning).
The second flaw is that this “comedy” is never funny, not even once, not even accidentally. Unless someone complaining about cape material and sizes tickles your fancy, that is. Why is Nikhail worrying about who RSVP’d to his party exciting or funny? Is the joke about how self-centered he is? If so, why are there no other characters to contrast his awfulness against? Such a dynamic could have offered both an emotional investment and an Odd Couple-style setup for the humor to play off. As The Invite stands, viewers are left with one of the most narcissistic, self-absorbed dullards ever put to celluloid. No one can relate, much less like, this a*****e, so all watching do not give a single flying s**t about anything that happens to him.
The final problem, and arguably, the biggest, is the way it ends. To be more precise, the story does not conclude as it stops abruptly. Given that this barely has a plot, I doubt spoiling things is possible, but spoilers will be avoided as best as possible. Without giving much away, the way things resolve foregoes any semblance of an arc or thematic point for either the story overall or the main character. It is shocking just how offputting and entirely insulting this “ending” winds up being.