10 Items or Less Brad Silberling

Unless you’re amused by flaccid "insider” quips about the film industry, or an aged thespian relying on viewer recollections of his previous cinematic charms to slum his way through a smarmy caricature of himself (Morgan Freeman is actually credited as "Him”), 10 Items of Less will have you bored to tears in ten minutes or less. Luckily, there are only 82 minutes to sit through, though the movie’s remarkable lack of ability to extract laughter beyond an exasperated sigh or snicker virtually erases that boon. Believability is stretched as thin in 10 Items’ loose plot as in director Silberling’s prior mainstream fantasy excursion, Lemony Snicket’s A Serious of Unfortunate Events, which is firmly at odds with the writer’s attempts at talking the audience into accepting 10 Items as a hip, clever, independent character study and exposition on the star system. The set up: an actor who hasn’t worked in four years is pondering testing the cinematic waters again as a grocery store clerk in a safe, little independent picture. Which of course, he does field research on before committing to the role, leading him to a Spanish supermarket where he meets Scarlet, a witty firecracker manning the ten items or less counter. Paz Vega, as Scarlet, provides most of the film’s buoyancy, though even that beacon fades quickly once the duo leave the supermarket to pursue an increasingly clichéd, ridiculous, eventually uncomfortable and then just plain silly finale. Sad as her life may have seemed behind that supermarket checkout counter, it’d probably have been a better film if she’d just stayed there. Silberling has put together a robust package of extras, presenting his filmmaking process as a more engaging experience than the film itself. "15 Days or Less” is a highly detailed "making of” documentary, with loads of info for film enthusiasts, including script pages, actor rehearsals, a Phyllis Diller cameo and a lengthy discussion on the director’s reasoning and method for nearly every scene and element of the project. "20 Questions or Less” and the photo gallery with commentary by the director further reveal the film as a labour of love, along with displaying a seemingly jovial rapport amongst cast and crew. (Th!nk)