Director: Brent Hodge | Time to play: 75 minutes | Year: 2023
You can plan your third date more carefully: After an online match and two dates with Khani, Matt decides the time is right to fly on vacation. The true sequel is easy to guess with a look at the month of release. Third longest date takes place during the first major corona lockdown of spring 2020, when it turns out that the first return flight from Costa Rica doesn’t leave until June. Thanks to Matt’s numerous vlog recordings, there’s a lot to remember. Unfortunately, that is also the problem in this documentary.
In a sense there was Third longest date even before Netflix and director Brent Hodge came into play. The film consists mostly of raw vlog and private footage, only edited together and supplemented by traditionally designed interviews, informative interventions (intertitles, roadmaps) and some recreated awkward situations; of the first two dates (fortunately due to spontaneity) no vlog records have been preserved.
Khani and Matt met through the dating app Hinge. Matt introduced himself as an adventurous man looking for a partner who would ‘complement his lifestyle’. Khani was intrigued that her partner knew what she wanted and looked slightly different in each photo. She only found out later that she had connected with an influential (wannabe). “It didn’t help that Matt filmed so much,” she readily admits.
In his day-to-day life, as a public relations officer, Khani had to regularly work with influential people, and had he known that Matt was presenting himself as “Matt from the movie” elsewhere, he probably would have turned down the effort. Of course, it turned out completely differently. When the cancellation of the first flight is a given and the couple has to give up their spacious accommodation due to unforeseen circumstances, a colorful Airbnb tour of the interior of Costa Rica begins.
Matt doesn’t call himself an influencer, but he acts like one. Even cleaning the grocery store makes it past the selection, and after a few weeks, the vlogger decides to put footage of his bizarre dating adventure online. That was exciting for Khani for more than one reason, as she had yet to bring herself to tell his conservative father that he was lying about his travel companion(s). The ‘third longest date’ story went viral, leading to multiple reports and interviews.
It’s understandable that the fact of ‘eternal dating festivities’ generates enticing headlines on the internet, but in documentary form, Matt’s vlogging behavior ultimately tends more and more to be navel gazing. As the world around him collapses, he makes his vacation adventure with Khani big and important, without taking one bit of distance (in thought) from his own sheltered world.
It’s all too easy and a bit bitter to completely envy this couple for their luxury vacation, but due to lack of thought, Khani and Matt’s ‘troubles’ sometimes go awry. 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 coronavirus lockdown. It also doesn’t help that the two ignore the beach ban to happily enjoy their umpteenth ‘date night’ on a (really true) docked pirate ship.
Due to the one-sided vlog footage and well-behaved ‘interviews’ (which are ultimately more like audio commentary), it’s hard to tell if Matt’s somewhat split image of rebellious adventurer and ‘ideal son-in-law’ it could also be kept off camera. As ‘Movie Matt’, he creates his own character out of him, without really being vulnerable anywhere. We see Khani, apart from the interview contributions, only through his lens.
Matt isn’t necessarily your typical “bad boy” or destructive force in the relationship. Khani complains a bit about her compulsive vlogging, but Matt treats her well and after a somewhat questionable start, the two (seemingly candid) hit it off. However, it is difficult to be cordial in the love story of Third longest quote arrive. For this, Matt in particular lacks self-awareness and the ability to put things into perspective: there’s a difference between ‘experiencing something special’ and ‘showing something yourself’, the latter thanks to Netflix. A little less urgency for the camera would have done Matt and Khani good.
Third longest quote can be seen in Netflix.