Cashback (2006)

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Sometimes love lets you keep the change


   Right off the bat, I'm going to get this warning out of the way: this movie is not for the kids, at all. If you read the description (particularly on Netflix) this movie ends up sounding like it was meant to be some kind of raunchy flick in disguise as a real movie - and indeed, there is a lot of naked in it. What actually got me to watch it was another review (on said Netflix), that elaborated on how they should really change the description because it doesn't really fully engross what the movie is about. So yeah, you watch what sounds good, and that person's little review did a number to make it sound like this could be quite a good flick (I mean, stopping time is always fun, right?) and it's been a bit of time since I've watched a movie that was more artsy then simply how to blow things up / kill things in the coolest fashion.


   This is a story of Ben Willis (Sean Biggerstaff), that takes place at a rather peculiar time in his life. You see, Ben has just broke up with his girlfriend, and it wasn't pretty - a scene we get detailed in slow motion, that may involve her throwing a lamp at his head. A bit depressed now, Ben finds himself with a sudden case of insomnia that he just cannot shake - something that isn't helping him concentrate during his college art courses. It isn't long before he starts finding other uses for this new found time , such as reading books and eating all kinds of munchies - the latter of which leads to a discovery that this new time is draining his wallet, and in turn leads to a job at the local supermarket.

   It's here, at this supermarket, we meet our full cast of characters - a group who are all rather believable in their performances. To the immature male co-workers messing with customers and getting themselves in trouble all the time, to the manager who has a bit of a self-importance issue and in turn acts as though he is far more impressive than he is. There's also a female co-worker, one who Ben slowly finds himself falling for. Now, there is a little bit of a hiccup in this otherwise normal tale - Ben has found he has the ability to stop time. The surprise is delivered to us in a wonderfully smooth segment about how people tend to pass time while at work - which from personal experience are all realistic enough that I wouldn't be shocked to work with people who do similar. Of course, being an art student who is obsessed with the beauty of women, this leads to a scene or two of having a market full of stripped women. This and two other scenes (one male, the other woman) are really the extent of the not hand drawn nudity in the flick - something that is a bit unexpected when the description makes it sound as though this is going to be the majority of the film.

   As things continue, we see the shop workers all start to form this odd little family as they bond - something that also leads to a hysterical football (soccer) scene that instills an idea used further on in the movie as well. The entire thing feels natural (well, maybe with the exception of time standing still for the "modelling sessions"), and really helps let you get invested in whats going on and where its going. 

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   The acting, as implied before, is quite well done. These fictional characters all act in a manner that are believable, while still remaining entertaining as well. Most of the humor comes from the interactions of the bumbling male workers as they go about their job (or the previously mentioned soccer match), and most of the romance and drama side of things centers on Ben. The plethora of naked ladies are an attractive bunch, but always seem to be presented in a manner that is either artistic or with a narrative from Ben that implies near reverence of their physical forms. That being said, the nude parts could just as easily been dropped without impacting the movie too much - even if they in fact don't really detract all that much from the center show itself. It's all done in a manner that just seems it aims to be respectful - which is more than can be said of a lot of movies I've seen.

   Costumes and scenery are rather lacking, but being a modern time real-esque movie it's hard to imagine much of an elaborate showing from either. A bit of England makes it's way through the dialogue (which makes sense, considering it is English) and locales, but it has a manner of not really feeling like it has to be set in any one specific place. Characters are also amusing to watch as well, and although there are references to sex here and there, the closest you will ever get to it in the movie is a stripper dancing her dance. On that note as well, of a lot of the modern romance flicks, this one makes me feel like sex itself was less important in comparison, which might seem a bit odd considering the running tally of free roaming breasts.

   The drama also never really feels that heavy, with the strongest portion of it being towards the movies ending as it builds to the finish. Some interesting twists and turns happen here and there, and ideally from these come some rather deep reflections on the entire reality of time and love. More so than the girls, the quirky humor, or the stopped-time shenanigans, it's that deep thinking that actually made me enjoy this movie the most - that point where at the conclusion of the film I feel as though some kind of realization has just happened and I might be better for it. Seriously though, as far as entertainment goes, that soccer match is probably the high point of the movie though (I'm talking pure mind-numbing entertainment here).

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   Obviously, I can't recommend this movie to everyone out there. If you got an issue with nudity, it's something you won't want to spend time with. Some of the jokes are rather crude, as can be some of the behavior of the store staff (although I know that people act like that out in the real world). If you can deal with those bits however, I would have to put this as one of (if not the) most reasonable romance movies out there - and yes, there are probably folks out there who have seen way more than me when it comes to that, but in general I don't leave those movies feeling like the movie tried to improve my way of thinking at all.

Cashback @ IMDB

Cashback
Starring Sean Biggerstaff, Emilia Fox, Shaun Evans, Michelle Ryan, Stuart Goodwin