The issues I had with [LaBute's In a Forest] are the same as I have with [Dirty Weekend]: unnatural sounding dialogue, a keen sense of audience manipulation, and the inevitable letdown of a story that hinges on the drawn-out revelation of a secret. There are some funny jokes, but the drama feels wrenched out of a relatively banal situation, as does the relationship between the two leads.
Airless visual treatment and mannered performances compound the impression that LaBute might have been better off saving this material for the stage, though it’d be a pretty tame trifle in either context.
Dirty Weekend appears to be his attempt at a Woody Allen sophistication. But even Allen at his most misanthropic seems to have learned more about actual filmmaking than LaBute has in 18 years behind the camera: Worse than his blandly functional images is the fact that the early scenes, especially, exude the lumbering feel of watching a filmed stage play, given the canned-feeling interplay between Broderick and Eve.