Rashida Jones in MONOGAMY On DemandJune 08, 2011
On Demand Weekly provides new movie reviews of movies on demand from the POV of watching from the comfort of your home. Today’s review: MONOGAMY (Oscilliscope).
Rashida Jones in MONOGAMY On Demand
By Amy Slotnick
Wedding photographer Theo (Chris Messina) has developed a side business that appeals to his inner voyeur. He offers to “Gumshoot,” for people, meaning to take verite style photos of paying strangers while hiding from their vision. People hire him to capture on film what they are like in their real life, a contrast to the artificial poses of the wedding parties that occupies Theo’s day job.
Theo and his finance, Nat (Rashida Jones: PARKS AND RECREATION), seem content and comfortable in their Brooklyn life together. Sure, maybe they don’t have sex as much as Theo would like, but Nat’s a beautiful, smart and artistic partner who seems to truly love him. However, Theo’s latest Gumshoot project, photographing a woman who calls herself Subgirl, begins to distract him from the relationship.
Subgirl entices Theo by refusing to speak with him directly, communicating only through email, and then plans to have Theo photograph her from afar, while she masturbates in a public park. Theo’s interest in Subgirl is piqued and though she doesn’t know why, Nat can sense Theo’s distance.
Theo is excited to be hired a second time by Subgirl and begins to try and piece together who she is, where she is from and who is the man that she is having sex with on their next gumshoot session. Meanwhile, Nat is in the hospital with a nasty infection and Theo fails to be the supportive fiancé. He is often absent, late or scattered at his hospital visits and annoyed when Nat refuses to have sex with him in her hospital room.
It comes as no surprise that as soon as Nat is out of the hospital, she leaves him. As is often the case, Theo doesn’t realize what he had with Nat until she is gone. Though the film indicates he wants her back by showing up at her next performance at an open mic night, Nat is too good for him and my guess is she would have found someone better by then.
Though Dana Adam Shapiro’s first narrative feature shows a realistic portrait of a man and his semi-warped point of view of his relationship, the common theme of the male fear of fidelity is not always interesting or entertaining to watch. The truth can hurt and it is painful to see Nat be discarded so easily when it is clear that Theo is lucky to have her.
Both Chris Messina and Rashida Jones have been consistently appealing and excellent in many of their other roles.
Director Shapiro purposely makes Messina unlikeable, and does so only to the exact degree that he could still pass as a potential “good guy” who is just confused and obsessive. So it is challenging to watch and decide how you feel about his behavior, and even more challenging to think about if the same malaise, secrets and misguided actions might exist in one’s own relationships.
Amy Slotnick is a contributor to On Demand Weekly. She works as an independent producer and freelance consultant to film financing start-ups. Previously she was a Senior VP of Production at Miramax Films.
MONOGAMY (Oscilliscope Labs) can be found under your cable system's On Demand section.
BLOOMINGTON - SKIP IT
AN INVISIBLE SIGN - SKIP IT
Keira Kinghtley in LAST NIGHT - DEMAND IT