Longest Third Date 2023 Movie Review
You can plan your third date more carefully: after an online match and two dates with Khani, Matt decides the time is right for a flight vacation. The true sequel is easy to guess with a look at the month of departure. Longest Third Date takes place during the first major corona lockdown of spring 2020, when the first return flight from Costa Rica turns out not to leave until June. Thanks to Matt’s numerous vlog recordings, there is plenty to look back on. Unfortunately, that is also the problem in this documentary.
In a way, Longest Third Date existed before Netflix and director Brent Hodge came along. The film mainly consists of unpolished vlog and private images, which are only edited together and are supplemented with traditionally designed interviews, informative interventions (intertitles, route maps) and a few awkwardly re-enacted situations; of the first two dates (fortunately for spontaneity) no vlog records have been preserved.
Khani and Matt met through the dating app Hinge. Matt presented himself as an adventurous man, looking for a partner who wanted to ‘compliment his lifestyle’. Khani was intrigued that her match knew what he wanted and looked slightly different in every photo. She only discovered later that she had hooked up with a (wannabe) influencer. “It didn’t help that Matt was filming so much,” she is quick to admit.
In her day-to-day life, as a public relations officer, Khani regularly had to work with influencers, and if she had known that Matt was presenting himself as “Movie Matt” elsewhere, she probably would have declined the effort. Of course it turned out completely differently. When the first canceled flight is a fact and the couple has to give up their spacious accommodation due to unforeseen circumstances, a colorful Airbnb tour through the interior of Costa Rica begins.
Matt doesn’t call himself an influencer, but he acts like one. Even cleaning up the groceries makes it through the selection, and after a few weeks the vlogger decides to put images of his bizarre date adventure online. That was exciting for Khani for more than one reason, as she hadn’t yet dared to tell her conservative father that she was lying about her travel partner(s). The story of the ‘longest third date’ went viral and led to multiple reports and interviews.
It is understandable that the fact of an ‘eternal date holiday’ produces appealing internet headlines, but in documentary form Matt’s vlogging behavior eventually tends more and more towards navel-gazing. While the world around him is collapsing, he makes his holiday adventure with Khani big and important, without taking a bit of (thinking) distance from his own, protected world.
It is too easy and a bit sour to completely begrudge this couple their luxury holiday, but due to the lack of reflection, Khani and Matt’s ‘problems’ sometimes go down the wrong way. Texts like “this shit is getting real”, “I forgot my GoPro” and “bugs are everywhere” do not relate to the harrowing conditions during the first global corona lockdown. It also doesn’t help that the two ignore a beach ban to happily enjoy their umpteenth ‘date night’ on a (really true) docked pirate ship.
Due to the one-sided vlog footage and the well-behaved ‘interviews’ (which are ultimately more like audio commentary), it’s difficult to determine whether Matt’s somewhat split image of rebellious adventurer and ‘ideal son-in-law’ could also be maintained off camera. to hold. As ‘Movie Matt’ he creates his own character, without being really vulnerable anywhere. We see Khani, apart from the interview contributions, only through his lens.
Matt isn’t necessarily the typical “bad guy” or the destructive force in the relationship. Khani complains a bit about his compulsive vlogging, but Matt treats her well and after a somewhat questionable start, the two are (seemingly sincere) all too cozy.to come along. For this, Matt in particular lacks self-awareness and the ability to put things into perspective: there is a difference between ‘experiencing something special’ and ‘putting something on display yourself’, the latter thanks to Netflix. A little less camera urge would have done Matt and Khani good.