Not all of the jokes land, and the meta idea of this screwball comedy doesn't entirely hold water, but its breakneck pace and escalating madness are still unexpectedly satisfying. Coming in at just 81 minutes, The Argument covers quite a bit of ground, and, fueled by bourbon and artistic temperaments, it cuts to the emotional center of things quite quickly. There's a great deal of running around, and it could have devolved into a high-pitched drawing-room comedy, but Fogler's shabby, down-to-earth presence keeps things grounded, even as he runs into the kitchen dozens of times to check on a pie that will inevitably end up on the floor.
Likewise, Maggie Q gets the biggest laughs with her icy, snappish line readings, the antithesis of all the looniness around her. On the downside, the idea of why these people would keep returning, night after night, for this crackpot experiment is difficult to buy. Plus, how can an out-of-work writer afford to buy a new $100 bottle of bourbon every night, not to mention the pies and fancy charcuterie platters? Also, the actors who show up for the next level of meta-ness are a bit on the cartoony side. But part of the sly appeal of The Argument is that the characters, and the filmmakers themselves, would even try an idea this unusual, when so many movies barely try at all.