Feb 2008 18

Sean Ellis’ latest is a feature length version of an Oscar nominated short film of the same name and sadly, I imagine it worked far better in the short subject format. This whole film seems dragged out and stretched like butter over too much bread if I can quote Bilbo Baggins. There is some genuinely funny stuff and the overall idea is clever but there isn’t enough substance to fill a whole movie.
Ben is an art student that just dumped his girlfriend. He is so affected by this that he can’t sleep so he takes up a night shift working at supermarket which is full of interesting characters. Ben slowly and drolly narrates us through his life and his feelings about them and the deep understanding he has for women.
The film itself is just obsessed with the female body, not the mind really, but the body. Ben is able to freeze time in which he sketches all the women that are currently in the store nude by pulling their clothes off while frozen. It is nothing pornographic and Ben does it for the sake of art, but we are left to deal with his pretentious babbling and self pity that is almost unbearable at times. The freeze technique is over done as well. Sure it is cool and Ellis uses his low budget extremely well and does some cool camera tricks but it is all style over substance.
A completely unnecessary soccer scene is the perfect example of how this film is desperately searching for something to talk about. What does work though is the character of Sean, Ben’s best friend, and the flashbacks involving him. Most of the films best jokes and bits come from these looks into the two’s childhood together as they discover the female body.
Sean Biggerstaff has one emotion and that is dumbfounded with no range whatsoever. The other lackeys at the shop are played like they are simple minded heathens or completely pointless kung-fu masters. The store boss is a bit stereotypical, but the actor is at least just having fun in the part which makes him the most bearable of the co-workers.
The female of interest at the shop, Sharon (Emilia Fox), is an interesting and likable character though and we can easily see the attraction; the production cheats her though by hiding her attractiveness for most of the film so we buy into her being a knock out at the end.
The overall message and arc of the film is also just absurd and utterly beyond belief with as sappy and outrageous of an ending as one can imagine. The film seems like an excuse to show female nudity as much as the director intended us to honor and worship the female vessel. The whole film just feels like it’s screaming to say, I am an artist love me because I can see your every curve for what it is unlike anyone else; it’s almost offensive.
The flashback save this from being horrible and the camera work is cool and worth watching if you are into that sort of thing, but other then that, I can’t terribly recommend this film that is a pretentious wash once it is all said and done.


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