Monuments (USA, 2021)

A man is determined to overcome some major obstacles, namely his late wife’s family, in this pretty funny adventure film from director Jack C. Newell.

Ted Daniels is a teacher who is reeling from the loss of his wife Laura. Laura’s family can’t stand Ted, as they see him as a loser. Laura’s sister, Crystal, believes Laura should have been with local yokel Howl, who claims he dated Laura when Ted and Laura temporarily separated. However, shortly before her death, Laura and Ted had reconciled and were on their way to being happy when she is killed in a car accident.

When Ted sees Laura’s family with her ashes and prepared to start a ceremony, Ted steals the ashes. He steals Howl’s truck and begins a cross-country quest. Howl, Crystal, and Laura’s parents attempt to follow Ted as the widower begins to search for something he had long lost. As the quest goes on, Ted makes a shocking discovery and despite Howl and Laura’s family hot on his trail, Ted finally realizes what he had been missing and that it doesn’t always have to be too late.

This is quite a pretty fun road trip comedy from the minds of writers Jack C. Newell and Rebecca Fons. The story of a widower on a quest to find himself and find what he is looking for with his late wife’s family trailing him brings in some quirky characters throughout the film and some pretty shocking twists that end up being both funny and emotional.

David Sullivan pulls off a great emotional and at times, funny performance as Ted, the widower who goes about stealing his wife’s ashes and goes on a quest to find himself and more. We see Ted go from this mild-mannered teacher to a free-spirited widower who is missing that one little aspect of his life that he had lost long ago. As for former Mighty Ducks franchise star Marguerite Moreau, she makes the most of her screen time as Laura, Ted’s wife, who (surprise!) becomes Ted’s spiritual guide on his quest, along with a trio of singing women decked out in white. She helps drive Ted’s emotional level as he realizes what he missed and how he can find it once again despite the situation.

The quirky cast of supporting characters is nothing short of fun and insane. Javier Muñoz’s Howl is the so-called ex-boyfriend of Laura’s who finds himself determined to get the ashes back because of his undying love for her, even if she was happily married to Ted once again before her death. The one character who comes off as annoying but rightfully so in this case, is Crystal, Laura’s outspoken sister played with such insanity by Paulina Olszynski. She likes Howl much more than Ted and is determined to reunite Howl and Laura once way or another, even if Laura is at this point a pile of ashes. Shunori Ramanathan’s Amber makes the most of her limited screen time as someone who also felt lost and believes in Egyptian mythology, leading to a hilarious dance scene at a local bar and showcasing her level of comedy when Ted learns something crazy about her loved one gone.

Monuments is a wild and crazy road trip movie that is about finding what you lost and how it is never too late to find it again despite any situation. Some great quirky performance and twists make this a fun one to watch.

WFG RATING: B+

1091 Media presents a Black Apple Media-ZAXIE production. Director: Jack C. Newell. Producers: Angie Gaffney, Jack C. Newell, and Matt Hyland. Writer: Jack C. Newell; story by Rebecca Fons. Cinematography: Stephanie Dufford. Editing: David Burkart.

Cast: David Sullivan, Marguerite Moreau, Javier Muñoz, Paulina Olszynski, Kathy Scambiaterra, Keith Kupferer, Shunori Ramanathan.

The film will be released on Demand and Digital on August 3, 2021.

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