Jim is having a bad day. A really bad day. Late for work and sales numbers down, he’s fired from a job he doesn’t exactly love. His girlfriend breaks up with him for being a nerd with no real future to speak of. In Alejandro Montoya Marin’s action comedy Monday, Jim is looking for a second chance to win back his girl…and his life for that matter, but at what price?
As Jim (Jamie H. Jung) is trying to pull the pieces of his life back together but life suddenly takes a dark turn. Ignoring the advice of his best friend Paul (Kenneth McGlothin) to move on, Jamie resorts to “stalking” his ex, Alice (Bonnie Gayle). He soon discovers she’s been dating Carlos (Joe Perez), who unbeknownst to both of them is a local drug cartel leader.
While Jim is obsessed with finding love again with Alice, he and his friends are sitting upon the rumblings of a potential drug war. Yes, Carlos has an enemy in Mrs. Alcorta (Marcelle Purdy), and she recently hired a pair of sexy hit women in the “Hit Woman” (Anna Schatte) and Sam (Sofia Embid) to take out Carlos. Jim’s night goes from bad to worse, when the hit women stumble across him stalking Alice in the bushes and force him to assassinate Carlos while taking the blame. At which point Jim takes the bull by the horns and…I mean, Jim pisses himself.
Can Jim become a man (in a non-toxic way) and rescue Alice from this perilous predicament? Or is there a bigger lesson or maybe even a better girl for Jim, possibly in the sweeter, less aggressive assassin in Sam? But ultimately, is Monday a good movie?
“His girlfriend breaks up with him for being a nerd with no real future…”
To best answer the last question, it’s important to understand what Monday is. It’s a low budget action comedy, and therefore must deliver in both action and comedy. The action is television action with gunfights and hand-to-hand combat. There is a little bit of killing but nothing gory or more violent than a TV cop show. For clear budgetary reasons, Monday is leans more on the comedy than the action.
Comedy in film and television is a game of percentages. If your movie has a hundred jokes and only ten are actually funny, your comedy grade is a failing ten percent. If you have a total of ten jokes and all ten knock your sock off, that’s a perfect comedy score for an A+. You have the exact same number of jokes, but audiences will walk away saying one film is hilarious and the other is unfunny. I’ll direct you to these classic Will Farrell movies and compare the laugh percentages between Elf with Holmes and Watson.
Jokes fly at you a mile-a-minute and come primarily from the dialogue, which means the jokes come in the typical set-up/punchline structure. Take, for example, this joke from Alice’s break-up with Jim:
Alice: When was the last time we went out? And Arby’s doesn’t count.
Jim: I can’t help it if they have the best coupons.
The film is a steady stream of this kind of joking when one character makes a statement and the other comes back instantly with a humorous groaner response. The majority of these jokes don’t hit. Admittedly, this fact is called out by Paul as one of Jim’s character flaws in the middle of the movie.
“The film is produced admirably with low budget resources…”
It’s not that this formula can’t succeed, but it takes skilled joke writers to pull it off. Stand-ups sift through a myriad of material mining only for the good and refining the bad. The solution for Monday is simple, tell fewer jokes and the jokes you do tell need to be home-runs. Don’t take the first snappy comeback that comes to mind, take the third or fourth instead and then hone that joke to fit in context with the script.
It’s not fair to say that Monday is devoid of humor. The funniest character is the one of “Hit Woman” played by Anna Schatte as the aggressively, emasculating hit woman. There’s a Monopoly bit she engages that is clever. Her unrelenting profanity-laced pummeling of Jim also brings needed energy and chuckles to the overall story. “Oh Baby Doll, It’s time to learn to suck your own dick!”
Fortunately and unfortunately the dialogue is the only real problem with Monday. The film is produced admirably with low budget resources. Director Marin creates an action vibe to Monday without needed car chases or dangerous stunts. The cast is clearly having fun, which helps maintain its energy from start to finish. I also loved the graphics are professional and spot on. My final suggestion is next time, use 70% fewer jokes and make sure the remaining absolutely kill and don’t think that jokes only reside solely in the dialogue. Comedy uses all the senses and found in the set, props, camera angles, etc.
Monday (2019) Written and directed by Alejandro Montoya Marin. Starring Jamie H. Jung, Anna Schatte, Kenneth McGlothin, Sofia Embid, Bonnie Gayle. Monday premieres on February 18 at 10 pm on the El Rey Network.
5 out of 10 stars