Release Date: December 1st, 2006 (IFC Center) by IFC Films.
The Cast: Morgan Freeman, Paz Vega, Bobby Cannavale, Anne Dudek, Jonah Hill, Alexandra Berardi, Kumar Pallana.
Directed by Brad Silberling.
BASIC PREMISE: A seasoned actor (Freeman) meets Scarlet (Vega), a clerk at a supermarket, and embarks with her on a road trip while doing research for an upcoming role.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: “Road films”, such as the underrated gems Interstate 60, Diamond Men and the recent Driving Lessons work well because they have a tight script, great direction, and a talented cast. i>10 Items or Less, indeed, has a fine cast and decent directing. However, its lazy script quickly falls apart once the unnamed actor, played by the excellent-as-always Morgan Freeman, hits the road with the sexy Scarlet. Scarlet has an abusive ex-husband (Cannavale) who sleeps with her co-worker (Dudek). Both she and the actor have individual goals to achieve on the road: she has to go to a job interview to be a secretary while he must study her actions to do research for an upcoming role. The rest of the film lies stuck in the dull, meandering second act as the two get to know each other by talking and talking and talking some more, which eventually gets boring. Good scripts in character driven films such as this should have enough details to bring the characters to life, but writer/director Brad Silberling fails to do so. Morgan Freeman, who has always been a reliable actor, simply doesn’t have enough to sink his teeth into here to make his character stand out or memorable. His superb performance, though, does elevate the material somewhat, but only enough to make this as a mildly entertaining movie. Fortunately, at a running time of 82 minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Stay tuned through the end credits for an additional scene and a brief reference to Gremlins.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none, other than barely skimming the themes of self-confidence, inner drive and happiness.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Unimaginative and contrived.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 4
IN A NUTSHELL: Mildly entertaining thanks to Morgan Freeman, but unimaginative, contrived and ultimately forgettable.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
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