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Indie thriller Monogamy goes beyond stereotypes

The romanticized commitment phobia that keeps Judd Apatow in gilt-fixtured man caves is brought down to earth (or Park Slope, anyway) in this inventive indie thriller from Murderball co-director Dana Adam Shapiro. Monogamy follows thirty-something Brooklynite Theo (Chris Messina) as he simultaneously slogs through his day job as a wedding photographer, preps for his own impending nuptials to perky Nat (Rashida Jones) and works a side gig taking surreptitious shots of clients who contact him anonymously. This latter endeavor leads him to a voluptuous blonde (Meital Dohan) who enjoys public sex and the photographic documentation thereof, and sparks an obsession that threatens Theo's love life and overall mental health. While its genre trappings and privileged urban milieu occasionally make Monogamy seem like a glib cocktail of Blow-Up and Look at This Fucking Hipster, they also allow Shapiro to float sly observations on the benignly predatory wedding industry and the subverted misogyny lurking behind affluent males' knee-jerk anti-matrimonialism. (He also nails the inarticulate panic and disorienting self-pity of a breakup with nauseatingly perfect pitch.) The film's final plot twist is easy to spot well before it arrives, but that doesn't detract from its crafty, heartfelt and surprisingly sound affirmation of getting hitched.

 
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