Watched Oct 28, 2010
David Merryweather’s review:
I detested the short film from which this grew out of -It seemed a bit morally dubious and sleazy to me. I had a problem liking the main character - he has the ability to stop time and, true to some adolescent fantasy, he uses this gift to strip naked, or near naked, the implausibly good looking female patrons of the supermarket where he works. He doesn't do this because he's a voyeuristic creep completely objectifying women, no, he's an artist and as such can see their true beauty. Which naturally involves pulling their skirts up.
Still, the feature length version has had some good reviews, so I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. Have to say I stand by my initial reaction, in fact, this only went to underline what was so repellent in the earlier version.
Let's get one thing straight right from the off - The only interest in the female form going on here is straight-forward T&A. All that clunking forth-form drivel the lead character spouts in voiceover is phoney and embarrassing, and it can't disguise that the "beauty" that he/the director is interested in is strictly limited to: tits, arse, crotch (though not necessarily in that order).
I mean, fine. Go for it. I just wish the film was more honest in that regard, though that supermarket scene in the short would still be a fucking disgrace. Many movies objectify women, but this takes the biscuit. The women in this scene are viewed literally as objects. And making mediocre pencil sketches of a woman's shaved cunt doesn't award you an "but I'm an artist" get-out clause either.
(One telling drawing is pinned onto the lead's bedroom wall throughout the film: A headless torso with a great big pair of tits. I know what this is, and it ain't art)
Degas drew and painted naked teenage girls dancing round his studio many times. Pretty dodgy, but, even leaving aside the fact that he really managed to capture his subjects' nimble, ethereal beauty, at least the women there were consensual - and, not least, FUCKING CONCIOUS at the time.
Sean Ellis is really out of order with this shit, and the film had a mountain to climb with me afterwards. I can't say it won me over, but at least it was more true to itself: it resorted to being a low-brow laddish comedy.
It's disjointed as hell this film. A series of mostly go-nowhere filler scenes padding out Ellis' ho-hum attempt at a dippy romantic storyline for the catastrophically uncharismatic lead and his thinly characterised love interest. What a load of utterly depressing rubbish it all is, but at least the support actors have fun larking about, easily stealing the show.
Of course, it's bawdy humour and strippers and the boys getting all flustered because a customer has a huge pair of knockers - or maybe they're entranced by the beauty of the female form? - all the way. And, just occasionally, Ellis will remember about the time freeze gimmick.
The scene in the locker room when the lead (what's his name again?) takes a break from the 5-a-side footy match and encounters another person who can step out of time, is the film's highlight. Not just well staged, but pointed to a whole other more interesting pathway the film could have followed. Whether Ellis wasn't interested, or just didn't have the courage to lead his film away from the lazy '90s laddism throwback it had become, who can say. But what a shame it wasn't explored.
So. I didn't really like this. It's harmless enough once the lead character stopped sexually abusing women, and we weren't asked to find it charming, and him sensitive. I guess the other main problem was that the lead actor was such a cardboard cutout of a human being, a black hole from which no discernible emotion was able to escape. Also: he looked 12, which just made him look more of a creep.
I will never watch this movie again, nor anything else Sean Ellis ever directs. I give it zero out of one million.