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Pete Cozy is having trouble resolving a happy marriage and family life with rising debt and a job he hates. When his new boss, Susan, a human dynamo, shows up, Pete is pulled into the maelstrom that is her life and made to work harder than he ever has before. Suddenly, money and opportunities come his way, but at what price? Written by
You might've noticed that many of the negative reviews begin with something like "I'm a huge fan of Parker Posey, but I didn't like this movie." That can be expected because it's not a very typical role for Posey, and the film is nothing like the silly, fast-paced Christopher Guest comedies that earned her so many fans.
With the DVD cover pumping up our expectations with quips like "Posey is hilarious in this!" it's hard not to be disappointed when you realize this is more of a drama than a comedy. True, she brings to the table the same lovable goofiness, as neurotic as Tina Fey on crack, but where it breaks from her typical roles is that her character "Susan" in this film can be a thoroughly reprehensible person, and this complex dichotomy forces us to take her character more seriously than her typical lovable nerd roles. Imagine a very lovable, innocent, quirky personality like, say, Sheldon on Big Bang Theory. But now make that character do some pretty rotten things like, say, kicking cute puppies. The love/hate dichotomy might freak you out. It will either scare off the Posey fans or draw them in with curiosity as it did me.
If you remember the 80s sitcom Taxi and Danny Devito's odd character "Louie" the lovable scumbag who, if you were to meet in real life, wouldn't be worth the saliva to spit on him with, Posey gives us a similar feeling. Her character is the personification of everything that's wrong with corporate culture: sneaky, self-serving, without ethics, hypocritical and borderline depraved. Posey pulls it off brilliantly with her over-the-top quirkiness, and it may take you 30-45 minutes to figure out that she isn't really the "hero" of the story, she's more like a dark Mephisophelean force who is corrupting the good guy.
Midway, the film takes a dark turn and after that we don't get many funny gags (or perhaps we do, but they suddenly aren't meant to be funny) because the story becomes tense. This challenging shift may lose some viewers, but it's ultimately what makes this a memorable film. Disguised as a quirky comedy, the film reveals itself to be an intimate look at the underbelly of human nature.
There aren't many films I can compare this to, particularly not any blockbuster Hollywood productions. But if you've seen the Christina Ricci film "Pumpkin" (a satire about a snobby sorority chick who falls for a disabled kid), or the unknown gem "Great World of Sound" (a silly yet sobering flick about sleazy profiteers in the music industry), that'll give you an idea of what to expect in "Price Check". A more popular film I'm reminded of is "The Informant!" with Matt Damon playing a goofy character caught up in the dirty world of economic crimes (based on the true story of the Archer Daniels Midland price fixing scandal). None of these comedies will have you rolling with laughter, but perhaps better, they'll lead you on a whimsical tour of some heavy societal problems we face. One thing's for sure, if you like well-made, well-acted, oddball movies that defy categorization, "Price Check" is for you.
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