In an effort to be absolutely bang up-to-date here on Picturenose, I thought it would be a good idea to review a movie I managed to miss for a good 14 years. I don’t think it necessarily matters, though. You could see it for the first time tomorrow and it would be certain to entertain you in some way. While certain topics are hardly current (the quite delicious discussion of The Return of the Jedi (1983) for example), the dialogue really is the selling point for this ultra-low budget affair, which cost only around $54,000 to produce.
It’ll probably upset some readers when I say that it has its shortcomings. Sorry folks, but deep in your heart you know it’s true. Some of the actors could not act if their life depended on it. There are some genuinely adept and adequate performances, it’s true – but there will never be a best actor Oscar for any of them. Sometimes the script meanders off to the point where you could be given to thinking it would be irretrievable, but manages to find its way back before all is lost.
Having said this, for a low-budget movie in which a good proportion of the actors simply can’t, it makes for witty and entertaining viewing. I would even venture that it’s made better by the fact that you know you’re not watching a Tom Cruise or a Jack Nicholson being paid the equivalent of the GDP of a small country to ‘keep it real’. The flawed script, the sometimes wooden acting and the set which looks like the inside of a convenience store (because it is) transforms into something much better than the sum of its individual parts.
Kevin Smith’s film centres around convenience store worker Dante (Brian O’Halloran), who is supposed to be having a day off work. In the film’s opening section, we see him stumble out of bed to answer a phone call telling him he needs to cover for a fellow staff member who can’t make it, and his day doesn’t really get any better from there. The bulk of the film consists of his dealings with increasingly odd, strange and/or awkward customers. Helping and hindering him in this process is Randal (Jeff Anderson) who frankly couldn’t care less whether the customer is satisfied or not and prefers to pass the day indulging in inane conversations on topics as diverse as hermaphrodite porn, Dante’s shortcomings and whether the independent contractors working on the second Death Star when it was blown up were victims of a political act or if they knew the risks and decided to take the money anyway.
This is a class act really, and certainly a cut above some movies that are meant to be ‘real’ and ‘fly on the wall’ but only manage to seem pretentious. If you have no objection to strong language, check it out – there are tens of thousands of worse movies you could rent tonight.