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Reviews & Ratings for
Free Samples More at IMDbPro »

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A Quirky Comedy-Drama about a hungover law school dropout who is asked to work a shift, in an ice-cream truck, for her best friend

Author: SaharHelmy05 from United States
5 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Entertaining,and straightforward,this indie film had a successful run at the Tribeca Film Festival. Jay Gammill's directorial craft shines as he captures what a day in Jillian's (Jess Weixler)life is like, as she struggles to make sense of her personal issues, and her hangover, in an ice-cream truck. Jess Weixler manages to make Jillian, who's disdainful attitude often offends the customers, as well as her friends, likable. The sarcastic banter between Jillian and her,off beat, customers is part of what makes this film charming. Jesse Eisenberg is sweet and smooth as Jillian's potential love interest,Tex. Betty, wonderfully played by Tippi Hedren, is the real glue to this off beat comedy. Her story brings a lot of heart, and gives emotion, not only to herself, but to Jillian also. Free Samples is a solid start for Jay Gammill. This drama-comedy definitely serves up a delightful treat.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Quirky indie reminiscent of Clerks.

Author: punishmentpark from Netherlands
22 July 2013

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Liked it quite a bit. Jess 'Teeth' Weixler was the reason to watch this, and she proved to be well worth the effort. I didn't expect her being cooped up in an ice cream truck pretty much all of the time (hadn't read the synopsis), but it had this 'Clerks' vibe to it and that worked out just fine. Weixler puts in a very capable performance, as does most of the rest of the cast. There's plenty going on, especially if you consider the dull environment, and most of the dialogues and scenes are quite entertaining, ranging from funny hangover talk all the way to heartfelt heartache.

I especially liked the supporting role of Halley Feifer, but also Tippi Hedren, Jesse Eisenberg and Wendy Shapero are worth mentioning. The story of 'changing souls' was great, except for the minor detail that if they actually exchanged souls, 'Tex' would now be Keith...

A big 7 out of 10.

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The more I think about this film the more I like it.

Author: CWadeLA from United States
7 May 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I saw this film at the Newport Film Festival; and I found it quite entertaining and enjoyable. The film takes place over the course of one day and follows Jillian (Jess Weixler) as she works in an ice cream truck in order to help out a friend. Jillian is in a place of transition in her life and in a dark place of uncertainty. After dropping out of law school, she is coming to a crossroads that she is not expecting. She discovers the truth about her fiancé, which ultimately leads her to discover the truth about herself.

Although Jillian may not be the most pleasant character in a film, I found her to be someone I can relate to. Everyone goes through times of uncertainty and doubt, but many people try to hide those tough times and Jillian does not. She is an honest character and tells it as it is from her perspective, which I have to respect. She is not concerned about the consequences and has a quiet boldness about her. As time progresses, she begins to open up and connect with some the customers that cross her path.

Jess Weixler does a great job capturing the frustration and uncertainty of Jillian without being irritating. Weixler is definitely someone I will be keeping my eye on as she continues in her acting career. It was also nice to see Jesse Eisenberg play the confident love interest, which just demonstrates his versatility as an actor. The appearance of Jason Ritter, Halley Feiffer and Tippi Hedren add more dimension to the film. The small roles by Jordan Davis and Wendy Shapero caught my special attention.

In addition to the acting, I greatly enjoyed the music which was scored by Eric Elbogen of "Say Hi". It was simple and not overdone which matched the overall tone of film. And it was enough to be noticed, but balanced enough not take anything away from the film. The camera-work by Reed Morano is very well done and the direction by newcomer Jay Gammill should also be applauded.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Delightful & complete

Author: zif ofoz from United States
1 November 2013

This flick is a privilege to see! It's a complete movie, no gaps, no uncertain scenes, no faulty characters. And it's just a simple - one day in the life of - type of story.

The main character 'Jillian' has reached a wall in her life and is at a loss on how to break through this barrier. She is asked by her friend 'Nancy' for a short favor. Jillian reluctantly agrees to help and in doing so learns a life lesson about herself and others that she believes to be her friends.

The greatest asset to this film is the fantastic dialog the actors expertly deliver and the smooth crisp editing! Even the little children briefly seen are at their best before the camera. And Tippi Hedron as Betty the aged and former movie star is just perfection!

I cannot praise this flick enough as I see it as quite perfect start to finish. Bravo Jay Gammill !!!

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Quite Humorous with A Twist

Author: user-247-785855 from United States
2 May 2013

When I was watching Free Samples by I was taken for a great and surprising ride. I did not know how funny Jillian was going to be in this movie. At first, I was not going to watch but the fun all begins when the Ice Cream truck comes into play. If you are looking for a funny light hearted movie this is one you definitely want to see. My personal opinion is that you will be laughing for about half of the movies at the same time you will feel the emotion that the characters are going through. I don't want to ruin the ending for anyone but the end of the movie is one of the most important parts to me and I was definitely not disappointed. You need to add this movie to your collection.

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4 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A quirky day in a crummy ice cream van just might change Jillian's life if she'll quit being so stubborn

Author: brevefilms from New York
12 May 2012

Caught the film at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2012, and really enjoyed it. Jess Weixler's performance as Jillian is terrific and fine work by Jason Ritter and Jesse Eisenberg make this a thoroughly enjoyable little film. Jillian may hate ice cream and the world, but I found myself really caring and rooting for her to overcome her demons and find love. It's a low budget film but there's a lot to like, and director Jay Gammill plays to the strength of his budget and medium, while Jillian's sarcastic, unpredictable wit keeps you laughing while the unfolding story tugs on your heart. Jillian may be difficult but she's ultimately sympathetic and the story draws you without ever stooping to being maudlin. I heartily recommend for a cathartic and laugh-out-loud Friday night.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Poor mans Winona Ryder

Author: dwuksta from Aus
16 August 2014

Just watching it now, the fact that I'm not waiting for it to finish is probably a give away. I really did feel like I was watching a tasteless impersonation of Winona Ryder, but without any of the skill. It's a boring indie film, the plot is not believable, the main character is a depressing early 20s law school drop out. The incidental characters seem to become the centre of attention for a large percentage of the film, but there's nothing to hold your attention,just ridiculous writing, trying to be clever, misses the mark, I even felt like it was just smart ass lines being spewed out, with each character trying to out do each other. For the people rating it higher than a 2, they are associated with the film, or brain dead.

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1 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A film for trolls!

Author: Hellmant from United States
29 October 2013

'FREE SAMPLES': Two Stars (Out of Five)

Pointless and annoying indie comedy film about a law student dropout who goes back home to Los Angeles to 'find herself' and runs her friend's ice cream truck for a day. The film was written by first time feature film writer Jim Beggarly and directed by first time feature film director Jay Gammill. It stars Jess Weixler and features cameos by Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Ritter, Matt Walsh, Whitney Able, Halley Feiffer and Tippi Hedren. The supporting cast is the film's one saving grace but I found Weixler's character (which is in every scene of the movie) to be highly annoying and depressing.

Weixler plays Jillian, a Stanford law-school dropout who moves back home to Los Angeles to figure out what she wants in life. The film takes place all in one 24-hour period and begins with Jillian getting wasted at a bar one evening (while hanging out with her friends). She's been on a six-month break from her boyfriend and meets a young man, she calls Tex (Eisenberg), who asks her out on a date (but forgets him when she's sober). The next morning she agrees to fill in for her friend Nancy (Feiffer) at her job, running an ice cream truck for the day, so Nancy can go to a family drug intervention for her brother. Jillian spends the day dealing with crazy customers and old friends as she argues with everyone and feels sorry for herself.

I like character driven movies (where nothing really eventful happens) but I have to care about the characters in some way. Jillian here is way too negative and antagonistic (to everyone she meets). While filling in for her friend she probably ruined her business and scared away all the customers! Why should I care what happens to her? In the end she of course comes to some kind of a revelation and seems like she might change but it isn't very convincing and seems tacked on. Her overwhelming cynicism makes the whole movie seem cynical but most of all it's just annoying. I couldn't stand the main character. Eisenberg, Ritter and a few others are likable in the film but their parts are way too brief and underdeveloped. Most of all the movie felt like a film for trolls (all about how trolls live and torment others). I don't want to see a movie like that.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

For a generation that will continue to be underrated

Author: Steve Pulaski from United States
24 May 2013

With the abundance of mainstream comedies and the enormously boastful raunchiness sure to hit in the forthcoming summer of 2013, it's only a fact that the Jay Gammill's directorial debut Free Samples will get shafted. Even on the far-reaching scope of video-on-demand, this one is sure to be either dismissed or criminally looked over. This is unfortunate seeing how it is easily one of the spriest independent comedies to be released on video-on-demand in some time.

Due to the increase in college attendance in recent years and the fact that numbers for graduates are increasing, it is not surprising to see many films made by young people staring young people about being young people. In a society like the one aforementioned, these kinds of films are essential. They provide the audience with qualities that are relatable and realistic to a generation that will always be marginally shortchanged and misunderstood. Films like Free Samples can't perfectly articulate post-adolescence but they can certainly help ease the pain.

The film stars Jess Weixler as Jillian, a law-school dropout who agrees to man an ice cream van that is supposed to remain stationary in a small town distributing free samples to passersby. Hungover, moody, and quick-witted, Jillian distributes the ice cream samples with large amounts of attitude and condescending wit that is equal parts rude and hilarious. In the middle of this, she begins to piece together last night as if it was a hazy detectives story. She recalls a hookup with Tex (Jesse Eisenberg), who shows up to try and help her remember, and tries to end a relationship that has simply run its course during this day, as well as dealing with every strange soul on the face of the earth.

Consistent readers will recognize this as further proof of my love for not only independent films but one-setting pictures. Writer Jim Beggarly's loose but interesting character study-focus combined with Gammill's studious, controlled direction (never too watery, never too dry) make this film stand on its own two feet nicely. Weixler, who was the supporting role last year in The Lie as a wife whose husband tells an unforgiving lie in order to evade responsibility and work, gives a gifted performance here. It's a performance that's morose enough to keep us apprehensive towards her character but just likable and funny enough to keep us watching in smiles.

Eisenberg doesn't have as big of a role as you may think, despite being top billing, and yet he isn't used for his name either. It doesn't appear as stunt casting, giving Eisenberg's name still isn't yet on the list of A-listers (although it should be). He's the kind of actor that no matter how mainstream he gets he will likely never adopt the actory presence stars get when they've clearly evolved from humble beginnings to landmark actors. I can see Eisenberg always remaining slightly to the left of the mainstream focus, which is where I like him the best.

Free Samples, if had maybe a few thousand dollars less in its budget, could've been a film more categorized as "mumblecore" rather than just another independent film. The watermark would've likely got it shoved around more in local, more reclusive circuits and more discussion within the collegian demographic. Nonetheless, it deserves success on its own merits for having quietly entertaining writing and smart, reserved direction. If you feel the need to gamble one night with your video-on-demand purchase, I couldn't see a better film to roll the dice on.

Starring: Jess Weixler, Jesse Eisenberg, and Jason Ritter. Directed by: James Gammill.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Loved it!

Author: chelsea-308-314592 from Los Angeles
7 May 2012

This was definitely one of my favorite films I have seen this year. I had no idea what to expect before I started watching, but the storyline was compelling and I kept wanting to watch more. The writer Jim Beggarly and director Jay Gammill made quite intriguing combo! Can't wait to see this director's next film... he seems like he might be someone to keep an eye on! And of course the cast was epic. Jess Weixler as Jillian, and Jesse Eisenberg as Tex were addicting to watch. I had never seen Jess Weixler before, but I am sure I will see her in many more things in the future! Not too many things to say without calling myself out on "spoiler alert"... bottom line is that I was both impressed and inspired.

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