10 Items or Less
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Best known for his starring role in a movie with Ashley Judd, he hasn’t actually worked in four years. Now, the unnamed actor, known only as Him (Morgan Freeman), is thinking about doing an independent film. In it, he’ll play the manager of a grocery story—but before he agrees to take the role, he wants to do some research. He ends up at a small market outside L.A., where he wanders through the store, studying the goods and trying to take it all in. There, he meets Scarlet (Paz Vega), the feisty cashier at the 10 Items or Less lane.

When his ride still hasn’t returned to take him home after two hours, he starts to worry. He left his cell phone at home, and he can’t remember his home number. His agent and manager are both taking the day off for some Jewish holiday. And he’s pretty sure no cab driver will accept his Diner’s Club card. So he begs Scarlet for help. She agrees to take him home—but first, she’s got things to do, and he’s just going to have to ride along.

  
 
It turns out that Scarlet is going to an interview for a job as a secretary for a construction company—and since he knows all about auditioning for roles, he’s eager to help. He follows along as she goes shopping for something to wear at Target—where the prices have him in total awe. He takes her car to a nearby carwash—so she’ll make the right first impression. And he makes sure she’s well-dressed and well-fed before she goes.

In the beginning, 10 Items or Less is a fun movie—and a great change of pace from Freeman’s usual larger-than-life roles. As Him, Freeman is laid-back, down-to-earth, and totally lovable (and a little bit sheltered)—even child-like. That may not be typical for an actor who’s used to having things handed to him, but it’s endearing nonetheless. His scenes in the market are hilarious—as are those at Target and at the carwash. But then the film changes gears. Perhaps the filmmakers were just trying to fill a little space (after all, the finished product is still a short 82 minutes long), but they end up giving Freeman preachy monologues that seem to go on for days. Scarlet and Him sit on a hill and eat, while he gives her advice. He gives her advice in the car. They sing while driving around. And I started to wonder if poor Scarlet would ever get to her job interview.

10 Items or Less could have been a great film, had it avoided the long, boring monologues and stuck with the humor instead. Instead, it’s fun for a while, but it falls flat toward the end.

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