'Monogamy' is hot

MONOGAMYDirector: Dana Adam ShapiroStars: Chris Messina, Rashida JonesTime: 1 hour, 36 minutes

MONOGAMY
Director: Dana Adam Shapiro
Stars: Chris Messina, Rashida Jones
Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes

LIZ BRAUN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:14 PM ET

Don't let the title fool you -- Monogamy is not a dull movie.

This indie film about a young couple with various commitment issues is written with a lot of snap, crackle and pop culture cool.

It's three months until Theo (Chris Messina) and Nat (Rashida Jones) are to get married. The Brooklyn couple seems uninterested in the details of their own wedding day; they don't really care what the colour the invitations are, for example, but there is parental pressure to get organized.

Nat is a singer/songwriter. Theo is a photographer. To pay the bills, he shoots weddings, but it's tedious work, and the movie recreates the ultra-fake wedding photo 'candid' moments with sharp humour. Theo relieves the boredom with photography that interests him, particularly a project called gumshoot (a play on words for gumshoe?).

Gumshoot involves taking photos of clients at times when they don't know they're being photographed; the resulting photos tell a client a lot about how he or she moves through the world. It's vaguely voyeuristic, but the resulting photos really are candid and unself-conscious.

Theo gets a new client for gumshoot. A woman who calls herself Subgirl (Meital Dohan) engages his services by mail. The first time he arranges to take her photo in stealth mode, she engages in very public sexual behaviour that both stuns and seduces Theo. He watches her in happy shock from his hidden spot not far away. Wow -- who is this woman?

Their next encounter is similarly sexually charged. Theo begins to obsess about the woman. He looks at his photos of her in extreme close-up to discern various details about her real identity.

Meanwhile, Theo's life continues. He takes wedding photos and plans his own wedding to Nat, but not with much enthusiasm. Worse yet, in stark contrast to Subgirl, his free-spirited mystery photo subject, Nat seems mostly uninterested in sex. For one reason or another, she keeps ducking Theo's sexual advances. Marriage and monogamy are looking less interesting to Theo every day.

Monogamy has a fairly predictable (and weak) ending, but getting to that ending is a joy. The dialogue among Theo and his male friends (Ivan Martin, who plays a bartender, and Zak Orth, who plays a married buddy) is often hilarious; the dialogue between Theo and Nat is intuitive, real and sometimes heart-rending. It's a treat to watch and listen to these characters. Further on the plus side, Monogamy has an above-average soundtrack. You could be faithful to a film like this.

liz.braun@sunmedia.ca


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