“In Stereo” (2015)
David (Micah Hauptmann) seems to have it all. He has a great apartment in NYC, he is an up and coming photographer, and he has a wonderful girlfriend in Brenda (Beau Garrett). His world changes when she wants to move in with him. Fast forward a year later and Brenda is not around. We learn this as David discusses his life with his therapist. He is living with Jennifer (Melissa Bolona), a young girl whom he catches looking at his cell phone. They get into a massive argument, and she leaves in a huff. David decides to follow her, as he believes that she just might be cheating on him. It seems that David is almost hoping that he will catch her with someone. His worst fears are realized when he follows her to his best friend’s apartment.
Compounding things is David’s latest photo project; he takes pictures of people at the height of aggravation, brought on by David’s attempt to get them mad. He gets punched out be a guy in a bar and gets arrested by a cop when he steals that police officer’s donut. Added to David’s misery, he has a chance encounter with Brenda, who very quickly cries on his shoulder, bring up feelings he thought he had buried.
The film, written and directed by Mel Rodriquez III, takes an interesting ploy as most of the first half of the movie is seen through the eyes of David. We follow him around town as he baits bar patrons to get a picture, gets into arguments with his girlfriend Jennifer, and has a beer or two with his best friend, Chris (Kieran Campion). Most of David’s section of the film are narrated by him as he tells of his latest triumphs (only a few) and failures (of which there are many) to his shrink (Sean Cullen). The second half of the film is kind of a split screen type of story as we see David and Brenda separately trying to survive their unhappiness. These are two very unhappy lives that they have created for themselves. The script has a Woody Allen vibe to it as its characters travel about the streets of New York City as each character moves in and out of conversations that are witty and fun to watch.
The supporting cast is excellent with standouts such as Kieran Campion playing Chris, the troubled rich kid who is double-crossing his best friend and Mario Cantone, who plays Brenda’s super smug agent, with which she has a love/hate relationship. Melissa Bolona is believable as the very immature and high-strung girlfriend of David. I especially enjoyed Sean Cullen as the world-weary psychiatrist who is trying to get David to accept his mistakes in life and find at least a little happiness.
It’s to the credit of lead actors Beau Garrett and Micah Hauptman that I liked this film so much because both their characters aren’t exactly likable. Garrett perfectly plays Brenda as an actress who has some success (so that she is recognizable) but isn’t above auditioning for a commercial about STD’s. Garrett has an on-screen quality to her that causes us to believe that she will eventually figure out how to make it the entertainment world. Hauptman has the hard task of making David root-able because he is such a sad sack of a guy, someone who continually and purposely, shoots himself in the foot. While their time with each other is limited on the screen, there is great chemistry between the two principals, letting you see how easily their characters fit so well.
While “In Stereo” is not a perfect film, it is an enjoyable take on the genre of romantic comedy, and its two leads work skillfully together, so much so that it is worth your time. My Rating: Full Price
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
“In Stereo” is playing in Atlanta exclusively at the Plaza Theatre
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