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Originally published Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 3:02 PM

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Movie review

'The Freebie': 'Free' sex costs a couple dearly

A review of "The Freebie," a pale imitation of "Humpday," starring Dax Shepard and Katie Aselton.

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 2 stars

'The Freebie,' with Dax Shepard, Katie Aselton. Written and directed by Aselton. 80 minutes. Rated R for language and sexual content. Varsity.

Katie Aselton's wispy little movie plays like a pale imitation of "Humpday": a series of conversations between its vaguely sketched 30-something characters, all of which come down to a sexual dare. A young married couple stuck in a sexual rut offer each other a night of no-consequences infidelity — which turns out, of course, to have consequences.

Though the dialogue explores some interesting territory, the couple (played by Aselton and Dax Shepard) remain elusive and a little dull; we never learn anything about them beyond the subject at hand, so they seem to exist in an odd, screenwriting-exercise vacuum.

Filmed in bordering-on- claustrophobic close-ups, Aselton and Shepard do have an appealing naturalness and chemistry on camera; you believe that they belong together, despite all.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

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