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10 Items or Less
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10 Items or Less More at IMDbPro »

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88 out of 106 people found the following review useful:

Very human road story

10/10
Author: louisecardinal from Canada
17 September 2006

Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega are the mismatched pair who get in the car and go about doing errands according to the need of one or the other. Morgan Freeman is superbly human, relating with one and all, while Paz Vega is the edgy cashier behind the "10 Items or Less" check out line, intimidating customers and bored out of her mind. Together they explore, discover, and learn from each other. To do that of course they must be vulnerable, interested in change, and have a sense of humour, all of which they both have. I wish this film was realistic, I wish this type of story happened more often, I wish we didn't have to go to the movies to realize that we can indeed connect with each other even if we come from vastly different backgrounds. The film's message is based in the open heart, and makes us wonder about the possibility of another world where we meet each other from there - a world where peace could be a possibility.

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64 out of 71 people found the following review useful:

smart, funny, bittersweet

7/10
Author: ivko from USA
28 May 2007

I'm a big fan of Morgan Freeman. 'The Shawshank Redemption' ranks at the top of my all-time favorite movies. But I have to admit that I have often wondered about his choice of roles. So many of his titles were big budget clichés with no heart. '10 Items Or Less' for me marks the return of Freeman to a role that truly showcases his considerable acting talents.

Freeman plays an unnamed, formerly big time Hollywood actor who hasn't worked in several years. He has been offered a part in an unspecified indi picture for which he is doing some research at a grocery store in a poor neighborhood in LA. After being stranded there by his flaky driver, Freeman is offered a ride home by checkout girl Scarlet (Paz Vega), whom he has semi-befriended. Before she can take him home, however, Scarlet has a big job interview she needs to get to, and Freeman agrees to tag along in exchange for the ride.

The movie follows Scarlet and Freeman to several locations, but the movie is really just a character piece about the interactions between the two. Freeman is the quintessential disconnected Hollywood type who hasn't heard of Target, and doesn't know his own telephone number or even what day of the week it is. He spouts wisdom from the Dalai Lama filtered thru his 'the whole world is but a stage' mentality, and repeatedly calls Scarlet's job interview an 'audition'. And yet he has a way with people, a way of affecting them that extends beyond his fame. He is a fan of humanity. He studies them, asks incessant questions about them, and delights in their quirks where others would simply be annoyed. In Scarlet, he sees the stubborn, proud loner that he was; he sees the man he used to be.

Scarlet, for her part, displays a fierce pride and sharp tongue that serve to hide her own insecurities about herself. Vega plays the role with a connection to Freeman that skates the line between an almost daughterly love and physical attraction, although she plays it beautifully and it's not at all as creepy as it sounds. But even as she feels her connection to Freeman grow, Scarlet has a keen eye for the reality of their different worlds and cuts thru Freeman's Hollywood bull*hit with a sharp pragmatism that refuses to accept anything but the truth.

The movie is smart, funny, and well written, with dialogue that is simple but effective. I read one IMDb review that said the lines were 'stilted', which I think is a misinterpretation of realistic human speech. There are no big soliloquies here, no deep soul searching moments. And so the trick is, I think, to show how people in ordinary, everyday life can forge connections with one another. And I think Freeman and Vega pull it off beautifully, painting a picture of a bond between two people that glitters like sun on the ocean, ethereal and elusive. Long after it's gone it lives on in your memories, tantalizing you with what might have been. OK, that was a bit flowery, but I really did like the performances and the movie. I would definitely recommend it.

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71 out of 87 people found the following review useful:

Lightweight, but delightful

9/10
Author: buff-29 from New York City
4 December 2006

This movie is a little ray of sunshine in a dark season. It celebrates a quality best described as plain old friendliness. Morgan Freeman plays a character very like Freeman himself--a successful actor pushing 70. He has traveled to a small, rather grimy grocery store intending to research a part he might play, as a manager of such a place. He soon beguiles the staff and the customers, especially the lovely, if cranky, young woman (Paz Vega) who presides over the "10 items or less" checkout lane.

10 Items Or Less doesn't have a big statement to make and doesn't pretend that it does. It follows Freeman and Vega as they become friendly, and as the older man offers his counsel, in exchange for a ride home--the movie-company gofer who is supposed to pick him up never shows and Freeman has forgotten his own phone number so he can't call for help. I had a little case of the blues on a gray Sunday afternoon in New York City and this flick cured what ailed me.

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62 out of 90 people found the following review useful:

sweet! no really!

10/10
Author: tenoftears from United States
4 December 2006

Full disclosure: I'm a cynic. I like my endings sad and my hankies dry. I didn't cry when Bambi's mother was shot. Will Smith's new film Happiness looks like a desperate plea for an Oscar. Basically I was born without an artistic soul.

So why on earth did I like "10 Items or Less?" Maybe it was the double espresso I downed before the show. Or (more likely) maybe it was that even the most hardboiled of movie fans could use an occasional shot of sweetness.

And sweet it is. From the moment "Him" meets "Scarlet" (an event far from a Nora Ephron "meet cute") the view is taken on an intimate journey with two strangers learning to care about where their lives are headed. (Aided beautifully by Phedon Papamichael's cinema verity style camera work.)

The main argument about the film is that it's too far fetched. Is the film far fetched? I don't know. You tell me. I've yet to meet Adrian Brody at the market. (However, not for lack of trying). Do I enjoy considering the adventures that might occur should this momentous event take place? Darn straight I do . . .that's where most reviews of "10 Items or Less" fall short . . .they fail to take into account that even we cynics have fantasies. And heck, sometimes, it's worth the price of admission to vicariously live them, 82 minutes at a time.

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35 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

High Scores for Honesty and Simplicity in a Meaningful Dialogue

8/10
Author: gradyharp from United States
29 April 2007

10 ITEMS OR LESS was made in two weeks on a shoestring budget by writer/director Brad Silberling, just a little film shot in Carson, CA that feels like the entire story was improvised...in the best sense of the word. Silberling had the good fortune to pair veteran actor Morgan Freeman, in between his big projects, with Spanish actress Paz Vega, and the result is a dialogue between two people from different vantages who manage to enhance the life of the other.

Morgan Freeman plays himself - yet part of the comedy is that he is depicted as an actor who has been out of work for four years, scouting a location for a little 'filler film' to get back into the flow of things. His 'role' is to be that of a market manager and he is dropped off at seedy market in Carson where he encounters, among others, one Scarlet, the girl at the argumentative 10 Items or Less checkout line. Not only is Scarlet tired of her static job, she is also generally angry about her philandering husband (Bobby Cannavale), currently sleeping with Scarlet's lazy co-worker (Anne Dudek), and her lack of ability to get a decent job elsewhere. The two pair after a few shared problems and off they go on a 'road trip' that results in each of the characters growing from the presence and life story of the other.

It is a simple story, simply told, but because of the tender bonding between Freeman and Paz it works very well. This is one of those little films about human relationships where being vulnerable to change and exchange is the message. It is well worth viewing, and this is a DVD that has featurettes that are touching, informative, and comic - a pleasure to view. Grady Harp

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31 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

really charming

9/10
Author: dreamer2point2 from United States
21 May 2007

I don't know why people always want deeper meaning in movies or else consider them worthless.

What about just being entertained? Something at which Morgan Freeman excels. He gets a chance to show off a bit. Paz Vega, his co-star, gets a career boost and Brad Silberling gets a name to draw people into watching his movie.

I thought it was a good movie. Some humor, some pathos, some bittersweetness but nothing over the top. I got an especial kick out of Jim Parsons as the receptionist at a construction company. When he looks at Freeman adoringly and says, "You make me want to be a woman." He's just hilarious. The fight scene between Ms. Vega her ex-husband and his girlfriend is wonderful too.

In short, it's a cute, charming film that will make you smile. You could do much, much worse.

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30 out of 40 people found the following review useful:

A very genuine movie!

10/10
Author: Nellie T. from Sydney, Australia
28 June 2007

This movie is really genuine and random. It's really hard to find movies like it in bunches of movies now in Hollywood. I really enjoy watching this movie, i bought its DVD Tuesday this week and i've watched it for 4 times. I love the Spanglish accent of Paz, it s just really cute as she is. And her acting and Morgan's are so funny and natural.

My movie taste might be really different from others but i have to say i really love this movie, the simple is the best!

I've learned something more about life from this movie (well, or at least USA's life)... life is really random... Sometimes, u meet someone, they pass by your life and be your friends coincidently, and u don't spend so much time with them, maybe just a while but u enjoy that ''while'' with them, and then u and them will never meet each other again, but the time u are together is really unforgettable. Just keep those moments in your mind as grateful and nice memories...

This movie might be cheap in the making price but its meanings are totally not cheap. I rarely can learn anything from movies, but this is an exception.

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24 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

A story to make you smile beginning to end, one of a kind

10/10
Author: tarafreegard from United Kingdom
13 May 2007

A great, funny, sweet movie with Morgan Freeman (who plays himself) and who meets a Spanish girl named Scarlet (Paz Vega) at a small store whilst researching a potential independent film. I was a bit dubious about the film for the first ten minutes but as soon as he was in the store I really started to enjoy the film. It shows how a positive attitude can change anything. It does not contain any complex plots and it is easy to follow but will lift the saddest of moods and make you smile all the way through without the need for petty cliché romance. It includes several scenes all the way through which make you clutch your sides with laughter. A very rare masterpiece!

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Yet Another Brief Encounter Yields Two Smart Performances in a Deceptively Casual Fable

8/10
Author: Ed Uyeshima from San Francisco, CA, USA
24 July 2007

Running only seventy-two minutes, this small, overlooked 2006 dramedy is really just a two-character sketch piece but one that works very well within its limitations. Taking place almost entirely in various, non-descript spots in southern Los Angeles, the story itself is inconsequential, but like Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation", the film is far more about two strangers who meet unexpectedly, find a common bond and go back to their lives enlightened for the momentous encounter. It also helps considerably that Morgan Freeman and Paz Vega are playing the characters. Finally freed of the wise sages and authority figures beyond reproach that have become his big-screen specialty, Freeman seems comparatively liberated as a somewhat self-indulgent movie star. His character is driven to a low-rent grocery store in Carson, where he will be able to research a role he is considering in an indie film.

Out of work for a few years, he is embarrassed when he sees DVDs of his films in the bargain bin, but his ego is such that he does not lack the temerity to watch and even mimic the enervated store staff. Of particular fascination to him is Scarlet, an embittered worker from Spain and relegated to the express line where she is the unsung model of efficiency. She has an interview for a secretarial job at a construction company, but her deep-seeded insecurity seems to defeat her chances already. Still looking like Penelope Cruz's Amazonian sister, the beautiful Vega (one of the few redeemable aspects of James L. Brooks' execrable "Spanglish") brings a stinging edge and realistic vulnerability to Scarlet. She and Freeman interplay very well throughout the story, which includes stops not only at the grocery store but also at Target, Arby's and a full-service carwash. Nothing earth-shattering happens except to show how two people realize the resonating transience of chance encounters.

Silberling keeps the proceedings simple, but the production also reflects expert craftsmanship in Phedon Papamichael's vibrant cinematography (he lensed Alexander Payne's "Sideways") and the infectious score by Brazilian composer Antonio Pinto ("City of God"). There are fast cameos by Bobby Cannavale (as Scarlet's soon-to-be-ex-husband) and as themselves, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, as well as a funny bits with Jonah Hill ("Knocked Up") as the clueless driver and Jim Parsons (the "knight" in "Garden State") as a worshipful receptionist. The 2007 DVD is overstuffed with extras, including a making-of documentary, "15 Days or Less", aimed at film students and running a marathon 103 minutes; six extended scenes; a light-hearted but insightful three-way conversation between Silberling, Freeman and Vega in the middle of Target; and a couple of snippets that specifically advertise the DVD.

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9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

That's 11 items; you're pushing it just like everybody else

7/10
Author: MartianOctocretr5 from Redondo Beach, CA
7 February 2010

This is a splendidly done simplistic film that explores a theme, and gives each viewer something different that they take from it. The premise is simple: an unnamed celebrity actor (Morgan Freeman) decides to research for an upcoming role by visiting a store and watching people. He takes particular interest in the cashier at the "10 Items or Less" lane (Paz Vega), who he finds an amiable, strong, and curious presence.

Both actors play off each other brilliantly and bring solid dimension to characters in what is a character study. Not a conventional character study; they each represent entire worlds. The cashier's life is mired in a harsh and frustrating "real world," while the actor is so enmeshed in his fantasy existence that he can't do simple tasks like remember phone numbers. He readily admits he's putting on a face when he talks to people, and the whole point of researching real people shows he's not one of them.

But not only is the actor inspired by real people for his work; we see the reverse process as well. Several characters recognize "Him," and make reference to how he has inspired them with his movie roles.

The cashier's favorite song "Al Pasar la Barca," about how a girl refuses to hide behind beauty and prefers instead to pay (ie: do honest work) for boat passage, couldn't have been chosen better. It parallels with the Vega character, the only store employee with any brains or ambition, who is willing to work hard to succeed. (That's quite an aspiration, for somebody who looks like Paz Vega.) It's an odd little film, probably made on a shoestring. If you don't mind slow pacing and a "talky" approach, this film will entertain. The characters are perfectly contrasted, and the effective acting makes them endearing. A nice watch.

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