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‘Monuments’ review: Quirky comedy gets too wacky

Too familiar?

Monuments is a quirky indie drama that hits all the expected highs and lows. Ted Daniels (David Sullivan) is a college professor whose wife Laura (Marguerite Moreau) has just passed away. He wants to scatter her ashes at the place they first fell in love. Soon, he is being chased by her family who have plans of their own. 

The film quickly becomes too beholden to its influences. As Ted makes the trip from Colorado to Chicago, he runs into a series of oddball characters. There is the the guy Laura’s family would have preferred she had ended up with, an encounter with a beautiful women that ends up back at her place, but not for the reasons Ted expects, and of course, a pair of oddball cops Writers Rebecca Fons and Jack Newell (who also directed Monuments) certainly did their research. 

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Just because a movie wears its influences on its sleeve does not make it a bad one, however. Monuments has trouble nailing its tone, but the moments that do work are splendid. The story does a great job dealing with loss without getting overly sentimental. Ted is a man trying to cope with loss (and possibly move on). It is a shame that the wackiness sometimes takes away from the overall message. 

Nevertheless, there are some times when the comedy does work. The overzealous security guard (Joel Murray) at Chicago’s Field Museum becomes the highlight of the entire film. In these moments, the true potential of the film is seen. The comedy works with the drama instead of pushing it aside.

Monuments is available on digital and VOD

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