Friends Meg (Kate Upton, left) and Kate (Alexandra Daddario) fight over a dopey stranger (Matt Barr) in “The Layover.” | VERTICAL ENTERTAINMENT

‘The Layover’: Bad acting by Kate Upton, co-stars fuels air disaster

SHARE ‘The Layover’: Bad acting by Kate Upton, co-stars fuels air disaster
SHARE ‘The Layover’: Bad acting by Kate Upton, co-stars fuels air disaster

You gotta pick one:

  1. Enduring a layover at O’Hare International Airport in which you find yourself sitting on the floor near your gate, you’ve just spilled coffee on yourself, and your fellow stranded passengers include crying triplets, overserved rugby fans and a guy who has taken off his Crocs and his socks.
  2. Enduring “The Layover,” a movie.

Ah, not so fast! Before you choose Option B., allow me to tell you a few things about “The Layover.”

Yes, it is a movie. But just barely so.

I’d say it’s more like an excruciating, embarrassing, profoundly unfunny, poorly shot and astonishingly tone-deaf screech-fest featuring some of the least charismatic performances this side of one of those dreadful “reality” shows in which over-injected women always seem to be yelling at one another while pouring wine or throwing wine at one another.

“The Layover” is a would-be romp starring Kate Upton from “The Other Woman” and, um, the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, and Alexandra Daddario from “Baywatch” and “The House,” two of the most dreadful comedies of 2017 and also of all time.

No offense, Ms. Daddario, but we can add “The Layover” to that list as well.

All right, so we know Kate Upton and Alexandra Daddario aren’t exactly Tina Fey and Amy Poehler — but nothing can prepare one for how amateurish they are in this movie. They deliver the kind of performances that would have casting directors at an open audition for a third-rate sitcom checking their phones and tapping their feet, waiting for them to stop reading so they can say, “Thank you, we’ll be in touch.”

Upton plays Meg and Daddario plays Kate.

Think about that for a second. Even the simple act of naming these characters is needlessly complicated and distracting. Every time Kate’s character says, “Kate,” we’re reminded that’s hername in real life. Why not just call Kate “Kate,” or better yet, find a name other than “Kate” to avoid this problem altogether?

Anyway. Meg and Kate are best friends who have have suffered multiple personal setbacks recently, so Meg persuades Kate they should fly to Florida, self-medicate and forget all their troubles.

Here’s a scene for ya. When the women get to the TSA checkpoint, Meg is told she can’t keep her bottle of (PRODUCT PLACEMENT ALERT) Dr. Pepper. So … Meg chugs down the whole bottle, as everyone in line looks on with amazement — I mean, utter amazement, as if Meg is guzzling a gallon of gasoline. How and why is that even a scene?

(The “payoff” comes in the form of Meg belching again and again on the plane. Heeeelarious.)

Meg gets an aisle seat. Kate gets the window. The middle seat is occupied by Ryan (Matt Barr, redefining “bland”), a blond, bearded hunk with a perpetually dopey expression and a relatively limited vocabulary.

From that moment forward, Kate and Meg are reduced to blithering, bickering nincompoops willing to smash their longtime friendship to smithereens in the name of scoring with this guy. Meg in particularly is downright nasty and nearly sadistic in the ways she manipulates and psychologically tortures poor Kate.

Their flight is diverted to St. Louis due to a hurricane. (Obviously not the fault of the filmmakers, but talk about bad timing for that particular plot device.) During the layover, Meg and Kate continue to get wasted and to make up stories about themselves and to step over one another in order to impress dopey Ryan and his dopey knockoff Owen Wilson hair.

Of all the horrible moments in “The Layover,” the worst is when Kate finds herself drenched in excrement, screaming “M———-!” while attempting to rinse off with a garden hose. One is tempted to say, “Pass the garden hose, Kate.”

The weirdest thing about “The Layover” is the director is William H. Macy, the brilliant character actor who owns comedy on the Showtime series “Shameless.”

William H. Macy is great. William H. Macy knows funny. How could William H. Macy direct such an unholy mess?

That mystery will have to go unsolved. I’d rather revisit that hypothetical layover at O’Hare than give this movie any further thought.

Vertical Entertainmentpresents a film directed by William H. Macy and written by David Hornsby and Lance Krall. Rated R (forlanguage throughout, sexual content and some drug material). Running time: 88 minutes. Opens Friday at AMC Galewood and AMC Woodridge, and on demand.

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