Today I have a review for a comedy that comes from an exotic and strange land known as the "United Kingdom"....
It's a foreign country, you know. Got its own flag and army and everything. Pretty neat.
"After his girlfriend dumps him, insomniac art student Ben takes a supermarket night-shift job and deals with his boredom by pretending he can stop time -- a tactic that reveals life's hidden beauty and draws him to the intriguing checkout girl. Surrounded by equally creative co-workers, Ben learns that by freezing time, his world opens up to unimaginable possibilities, including a cure for his chronic sleeplessness."
So, a college student passes the hours at his midnight shift supermarket job by stopping time and looking at naked ladies. But here's the catch: he's an ART student, you see, so he's very SENSITIVE. Therefore, when he undresses the various suspended-in-time female customers without their knowledge, it's OK because he's only doing it to celebrate their beauty by painting them. See, again, the kid's an artist, and not just some run of the mill pervert. No reason to judge his behavior. It's really quite beautiful, if you think about it....
Honestly, the deep, sensitive artist angle with the main character is the only thing that stops this film from being a standard teen sex comedy. It's presented like some kind of Michel Gondry-style examination of life's true meaning, but I'll bet that the actual screenplay reads more like Superbad. Not that there's anything WRONG with that, though. Superbad was quite funny, and so is Cashback.
Plenty of hilarious interactions between our hero, Ben, and his colorful, quirky coworkers provide more laughs than the average comedy, and his budding relationship with the cute checkout girl (who, by the way, HE NEVER PAINTS) is interesting enough to keep us caring until the end. Lots of dumb "guy humor" can also be found here, as Ben is pelted in the face with various pieces of supermarket merchandise, and the two goofiest of his coworkers -- Barry and Jenkins -- fire nonstop vulgarities at each other and whoever happens to be nearby. ANapoleon Dynamite-style karate dork who shows up for no reason, and a delusional boss who forces his underlings to take part in a soccer tournament, round out the characters to give the film an offbeat, random sort of comedic edge that really should make the experience fairly enjoyable for most viewers, regardless of their particular sensibilities.
Some viewers may be duped into finding deep meaning in Cashback, but come on now -- Ben is using his time-freezing power to do basically the same thing that I would have done with it at his age. The only difference is that Ben can paint. Still, the movie IS funny, and I think most folks ought to enjoy it.
3 out of 5.