10 Items or Less (2006)
Directed by: Brad Silberling | 82 minutes | drama, comedy | Actors: Morgan Freeman, Paz Vega, Jonah Hill, Anne Dudek, Francisca Hernandez, Nacho Pina, Hector Running-Hawk, Alexis Hernandez, Silvia Curiel, Shawn Calizo, Kumar Pallana, Rosa Diaz, Hector Atreyu Ruiz, Bobby Cannavale, Leonardo Nam, Jennifer Echols, Alexandra Berardi, Matthew Perales, Alfonso Gutierrez, Mary Vargas, Jim Parsons, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman
Sometimes you have those movies that must have been a big party for the entire cast and crew to make. ’10 Items or Less’ is one such film. The film exudes a cheerful, relaxed atmosphere, and it is hard to imagine that there was even a grumpy person on the set. Every scene looks like it was shot right the first time. The result is a humorous, relaxed low budget film that is pleasant to look at.
Morgan Freeman plays an unnamed, well-known Hollywood actor, known for his films with Ashley Judd, among other things. Let’s call him Morgan Freeman. The picky actor hasn’t played a role in four years and is thinking about making another film. This new production is rather low budget: the producer’s nephew (very nice cameo by Jonah Hill) is brought in to act as the actor’s driver. To do research for his character, Morgan is taken to a grocery store in a Los Angeles suburb, far away from Morgan’s normal environment.
At the supermarket, he meets Scarlet (Paz Vega), the spunky cashier at the express checkout (which explains the title). Although she is excellent at her job, she is disappointed with her hopeless job. When Morgan’s driver abandons him, he forgets his cell phone, and for various other plausible reasons can’t make contact with his home base, he has to rely on Scarlet. She is reluctant at first, but her kindness prevents her from leaving the actor in the supermarket (“They would kill you.”). During the time they spend together, the two get to know each other by discussing the most diverse matters. Morgan is an excellent observer and learns every minute. Scarlet, portrayed wonderfully vulnerable by Paz Vega, is also a bit wiser thanks to this encounter.
While the film is not a comedy, the film is subtly humorous at times (often the best form of humor); like Morgan’s habit of seeing everything in life as an actor (a job interview is an audition). The scenes in Target are brilliant. Danny De Vito and Rhea Perlman’s cameos are also worth checking out. However, the film will not appeal to a large audience, because it will probably be labeled as too boring. The plot is simple, nothing spectacular happens, and the ending, which is irrevocable, bittersweet, but very fitting, will leave many viewers wondering why they gave 82 minutes of their lives to this. Still, that’s a shame, because the film contains very successful dialogues, interesting characters and not a single cliché. It can also be seen that the film was made with a lot of fun. And a happy Morgan Freeman can only make a great movie.