A well-known actor, who hasn't accepted a role in four years, is considering a project. The cousin of the director drives him to Archie's Ranch Market, in Carson, and drops him off to do a little research. He's fascinated by one of the checkers, Scarlet, a young woman from Spain with a preternatural ability to ring up items at the cash register. She hates her job, stuck at the 10 items or less lane. The actor chats her up, and when her shift ends, he asks for a ride. In the course of the afternoon, he helps her prepare for a job interview. She needs to have confidence, he needs to commit. Human contact, however brief, can change people.Written by
Director and producer Brad Silberling gave his two leading characters lots of freedom to improvise during shooting. Lots of scenes in the movie were totally improvised on the spot. The dance scene by Morgan Freeman at the car wash is a good example. The singing scene in the car by Vega and Freeman is another example of total improvisation. See more »
As "Him" is walking through the store, after the mop demonstration, he does not have a mop. But when they are outside walking to the car, he has one. See more »
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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