Cinebanter

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Saturday, June 12, 2010

SIFF Sighting: MONOGAMY (drama; USA)

The film Monogamy is less about a commitment of sex between two people and more about individuals who can't seem to function in a relationship.

Nat (Rashida Jones) and Theo (Chris Messina) are a New York couple nervously approaching their wedding day. Theo is frustrated because Nat never wants to make love; Nat is frustrated because when she contracts a staph infection, Theo doesn't visit her at the hospital very often.

We're not sure why Nat isn't in the mood for love, but Theo's excuse for being a bad partner lies in his work: acting as a hired 'surveillance' photographer, who is responsible for showing up at agreed-upon locations to capture his employers on camera doing whatever they want to be doing.

His current client, a fake blond with a female empowerment tattoo and a wedding ring, coaxes him to different locations to witness her playing out her sexual fantasies: masturbating in a public park; performing oral sex on a man in a car; having intercourse under the Brooklyn Bridge. She is very nonchalant about the process, which only intrigues her photographer more.

When Nat observes one of the photos on Theo's computer, he does the right thing by telling her the truth of what's going on and she seems okay with it. However, when Nat begins to mention her doctor (who pays more attention to her than her fiancé) too much, Theo is clearly bothered.

The problem with the film isn't the actors (they're both solid) or the cinematography (Brooklyn looks great), it's the writing. The characters are so forgettable and unlikeable, the audience is left with no one to root for.

Furthermore, so many of the details are left open to interpretation we lose interest trying to decipher them. A thriller this film is not.

MONOGAMY screened at the 36th Annual Seattle International Film Festival.

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