‘Monday’: Impulsive couple needs to get a room — far away from here
Sebastian Stan and Denise Gough play insufferable Americans who experiment with a relationship after their passionate meeting in Greece.
Mickey and Chloe are the kind of couple that gets kicked out of a bar for fighting or getting too drunk or having sex in the bathroom or all three. Mickey and Chloe are the kind of couple you debate about inviting to a wedding or a brunch because there’s always the potential for drama and them making it about them and not the event. Mickey and Chloe are the kind of couple who fancy themselves passionate free spirits but are in fact exhausting and insufferable and draining to be around.
IFC Films presents a film directed by Argyris Papadimitropoulos and written by Papadimitropoulos and Rob Hayes. Rated R (for sexual content, nudity/graphic nudity, drug use, and pervasive language). Running time: 115 minutes. Opens Friday at the Glen Art Theater in Glen Ellyn and on demand.
So why would we want to see an entire movie about Mickey and Chloe, even though they can be charming and exciting and they’re fantastic looking and they’re often ripping each other’s clothes off?
Answer: We don’t.
The anti-rom-com “Monday” has much going for it, from the jaw-droppingly beautiful Greek locales to the talented leads to a promising first act, but the more time we spend with Mickey (Sebastian Stan a.k.a. the Winter Soldier) and Chloe (the Irish stage actress Denise Gough), the more we tire of their co-dependent narcissism and their selfish and impulsive ways. That they’re both closer to 40 than, say, 22, when some of their actions could be explained away by the vagaries of youth, makes them all the more intolerable.
In its opening scenes, “Monday” plays a bit like a sped-up version of “Before Sunrise.” American expat Mickey is a hedonistic DJ who has been living in Greece for the last seven years, while Chloe is an immigration lawyer from the States who is about to head home for a job in Chicago after a recent breakup. They meet at a wild backyard party, start pounding drinks — and they wake up the next morning naked on the beach. For the rest of the weekend, they’re all over each other and they each feel a real bond, but come Monday, Chloe will be flying home.
Cue the obligatory airport scene where Mickey stops Chloe just in time, which would mark the end of many a traditional rom-com. But director/co-writer Argyris Papadimitropoulos has come up with the admittedly intriguing premise of following these characters after that initial burst of sexual energy and heart-pounding attraction, as Mickey and Chloe move in together, meet each other’s friends, start to fight over the smallest things — but still find themselves in the throes of what could be a lifetime love.
Problem is, the more we know about these two, the less we care about what happens to them. Mickey is an immature, selfish, borderline jerk who has a son in Greece he almost never sees. He hasn’t even bothered to learn Greek even though that’s his son’s first language. Chloe has a tendency to get blackout drunk and make terrible suggestions, e.g., when she insists they get stark naked and go for a dangerous joy ride on his motorcycle. They continually lash out at one another, and then try to convince each other they’re in love. On and on it goes, until we reach the point where we hope they just take their leave, and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.