Micah Hauptman, Beau Garrett, Maggie Geha, Aimee Mullins
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…there’s little room for protagonists [whose] self-destructive nature is presented as merely quirky.
When you have a romantic comedy on your hands, not only should it be both a comedy and romantic, you should be willing to cheer on the lead couple as they step closer towards coupledom. In Stereo’s lead couple have not only broken up by the time the beginning credits have unfurled, but they have also hopped straight into other relationships so fast you can hear the rebound from Mars.
David (Micah Hauptman), an affluent photographer, is with a destructive immature airhead who is sleeping with his best friend. Brenda (Beau Garrett) has a boyfriend who doesn’t excite her and an acting career that’s spiraling downwards. As a result of their poor life choices, they are vicious to everyone they know and, in the case of David, deliberately antagonise people to get a reaction. Following them both on the same day, the viewer is invited to cross their fingers that they get back together; if not for themselves then for the sake of the city that quakes with each dummy spit.
In Stereo makes the mistake in thinking these are complicated people with equally complicated lives. However, taken at face value, they just come across as mean-spirited and, at times, kind of spoilt. David harasses people so he can take their photo and giggles at the outcome, whilst Brenda’s career is failing because she refuses to take work. With TV shows like Aziz Ansari’s Master of None proving you can play in the tortured artist sandbox and still have something to say, there’s little room for protagonists like In Stereo’s where their self-destructive nature is presented as merely quirky.
Director Mel Rodriguez III provides slick visuals and an even slicker soundtrack, but it doesn’t hide the fact that the conclusion of In Stereo is that it’s really hard when two gorgeous women want you.