Monday Morning (2005) – By Jonathon Pernisek

 After slogging through the dour, mournful, and just plain depressive trilogy known as the “film truth collection,” I was more than ready for a change of pace when I began to watch Fleet Street Films’ short comedy Monday Morning. Based on this piece, I would volunteer to see more of director Anthony Spadaccini’s lighter work in the future, as this is a nice example of how he can potentially make an audience laugh and have a good time. There are a few minor faults I’m going to address, but for the most part I think it’s useless to really criticize this film, mainly due to its short length and earnest nature.

Obviously inspired by the classic works of Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, and other stars of their time, Monday Morning is a simple silent film following the mishaps of your typical buffoon as he desperately tries to get to work on time. Appropriately the film is shot in grainy black and white, with text cards popping up every now and then to further exposition and nothing more. These cards are used best when aping the style of their original predecessors, such as when an alarm clock is shown and then accompanied by the text “Ring Ring.” Dialogue is hammy and overly articulated, as exampled when the hero of the story repeats everything he is told while talking on the telephone. “If I’m not there in 30 minutes I’ll be fired? I’m on my way!” So begins his mad dash to the office, though just about everything manages to get in his way.

Some jokes fare better than others, with one flat liner being a physical gag where the man’s jeans are bleached, supposedly because his cat tipped over a bottle of the stuff. This really doesn’t make a lot of sense, and the fun of silent films was their knowledge of being firmly rooted in reality. Luckily Monday Morning doesn’t repeat this mistake because of its speedy pace, moving from one situation to the next so nothing becomes repetitive or boring. The best section by far involves the old routine of a car slowly but surely escaping its owner, forcing our hero to haplessly hold onto the grill in a worthless attempt to save his vehicle. It’s well shot, and the physical comedy is great.

The movie does slow down as it comes to an end, becoming stuck as the stressed-out lead is forced to deal with multiple jerks at a bus stop. You can only watch so much slapstick fighting before your mind starts to wander, and the last few minutes of Morning are filled with nothing but people running after each other and throwing mock punches. There’s also an eye-rolling and incredibly easy gay joke when Bobby Hamilton shows up as an effeminate teen, a cameo appearance that’s surely meant to amuse Spadaccini and his friends more than the public. Like I said, though, there’s no use wasting critical energy on this harmless short film, and unlike Spadaccini’s dramatic work I can safely say I’d watch Monday Morning again, mainly because it’s not trying to shove a message of tolerance or HIV awareness down my throat.