Alt Film Guide
Classic movies. Gay movies. International cinema. Socially conscious & political cinema.
Home Movie Reviews In Stereo (2015) Movie Review: Messed-Up Relationship in Sarcastic Romcom

In Stereo (2015) Movie Review: Messed-Up Relationship in Sarcastic Romcom

In Stereo movie Micah HauptmanIn Stereo movie with Micah Hauptman. Cinema’s New York City-set love stories featuring less-than-adorable leads date back to at least Woody Allen’s Annie Hall (1977) and Manhattan (1979).
  • In Stereo (2015) movie review: Feature film newcomer Mel Rodriguez III has come up with a sharp, well-acted romantic comedy that feels like a throwback to gutsy American indies of years past.

In Stereo movie review: Witty & sarcastic romantic comedy brings back memories of edgy love stories from American indie cinema of yore

In Stereo is a particular kind of romantic comedy; the kind full of characters that aren’t remotely romantic, that tend more toward wit and sarcasm rather than light or camp humor (unless it involves someone getting beaten up), and in which things may very well turn out badly for the protagonists, whom we may or may not be inclined to root for or even like.

That’s my kind of romantic comedy. A little mean and very funny if you prefer wit and sarcasm to fart jokes – as witty and sarcastic people always do.

Fuller & truer togetherness

By definition, something that is in stereo comes at you from at least two directions at once – the same yet different – together creating something that is fuller and truer than either of the elements alone.

In Stereo, the movie, is about David (Micah Hauptman) and Brenda (Beau Garrett), a photographer and an actress, respectively, and their decidedly stereophonic relationship. He’s neurotic and she’s narcissistic; they’re each good on their own, but together they’re better.

Running mono

When In Stereo begins, they’ve already broken up. They’re running in mono, as it were: He’s dealing with a cheating girlfriend and she has just lost her TV show and her apartment.

They couldn’t be farther apart, yet they’re on a trajectory that will bring them back together. Or maybe not.

We get to watch David and Brenda and the movie’s few other characters as they flit about the New York art scene, engaged in their lives and in their art, while the former couple tries to understand why everything feels like it’s worth a little less unless they’re together.

But then there’s the problem of being together.

Where has messed-up indie romance gone?

There was a time when movies like In Stereo were the talk of the indie cinema scene; they were adored for their fresh, edgy, and darkly humorous look at contemporary romance. Today, that scene is more likely to embrace stories about marginalized communities in films like Dear White People, Dope, or even Whiplash. (If you consider white jazz drummers a marginalized community.)

These are all movies that I enjoyed, but personally I’m not done with romance, not even of the messed-up kind – especially cynical New York romances about artsy assholes who probably deserve their romantic and other miseries. (Which reminds me: Do check out last year’s Listen Up Philip, with Jason Schwartzman and Elisabeth Moss. It’s also mean and funny.)

Sharp feature debut

In his first feature, In Stereo writer/director Mel Rodriguez III gives us a funky New York-set romp that feels like an episode of Sex and the City on meth. Which is meant as a compliment.

The film’s writing is sharp, its performances are very good, and it has a boss-ass soundtrack. It ain’t When Harry Met Sally…, but who gives a f%#k?

In Stereo (2015) cast & crew

Direction & Screenplay: Mel Rodriguez.

Cast: Micah Hauptman, Beau Garrett, Aimee Mullins, Melissa Bolona, Mario Cantone, Sean Cullen, Dan Domingues.

Cinematography: Bryan Koss.

Film Editing: Mel Rodriguez.

Music: Luis Guerra.

Production Design: Liz Merrick.

Producers: Danny Roth & Damiano Tucci.

Production Company: Parkside Pictures.

Distributor: Circus Road Films.

Running Time: 97 min.

Country: United States.


In Stereo (2015) Movie Review” endnotes

In Stereo movie credits via the IMDb.

Micah Hauptman In Stereo movie image: Circus Road Films.

In Stereo (2015) Movie Review: Messed-Up Relationship in Sarcastic Romcom” last updated in September 2022.

Recommended for You

Leave a Comment

*IMPORTANT*: By using this form you agree with Alt Film Guide's storage and handling of your data (e.g., your IP address). Make sure your comment adds something relevant to the discussion: Feel free to disagree with us and write your own movie commentaries, but *thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative. Abusive, inflammatory, spammy/self-promotional, baseless (spreading mis- or disinformation), and just plain deranged comments will be zapped. Lastly, links found in submitted comments will generally be deleted.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. If you continue browsing, that means you've accepted our Terms of Use/use of cookies. You may also click on the Accept button on the right to make this notice disappear. Accept Read More