Monday, June 28, 2010

Review: Cashback (2006)

Director: Sean Ellis
Starring: Sean Biggerstaff, Emilia Fox, Shaun Evans

“So, you wanna…come up to my bedroom? Eat some popcorn? Shag?”

GOD, WHAT THE FUCK? Okay, let me just spoil the premise now and get it out of the way: A movie about a guy who is so depressed over the fact that he broke up with his girlfriend because he felt like he wasn’t good enough for her, that he starts becoming an insomniac and is able to freeze time, so he undresses women and draws them without their consent. And it thinks that somehow, we should be sympathetic for him! Isn’t that precious? Does that sound like a good movie to you? Ugh. Just…ugh. That sums up the movie, people, but we’ve still got a review to do. Let’s see what horrors that CashBack has in store for us…be afraid.

I don’t even care that this movie shows more pairs of naked breasts than your average porno. It’s a piece of trash. This is so puerile and so whimsically disgusting and insulting on every level – including that of thinking it is a good comedy, and that of thinking it is a good movie – that nothing could ever save it. Watching more than a minute of this drivel really hurts. Even thinking about this movie just makes me feel dirty; how am I supposed to review it? Well, let’s…let’s try, I guess.

It stars a wimpy art student named Ben who gets ridiculously depressed over the fact that his girlfriend who HE BROKE UP WITH is dating someone else. The first scene shows him being physically abused by his girlfriend as he breaks up with her. She throws a lamp – a fucking lamp – at his head, and some other stuff, and it really begs the question of why the hell he wants her back so bad, anyway. Would you? He spends the first five or ten minutes agonizing over her and lamenting why he’s such a pussy. Here’s a tip for you writers: if your script makes Juno look manly in comparison, I think you need a rewrite. A major one. Because I don’t know about the rest of you, but I sure as hell do not want to listen to a bunch of ball-aching whining from a kid who in all other aspects of his life is doing pretty well. This isn’t charming; it isn’t romantic, it’s just flat out annoying. Bunch of simpering crap.

But hey, at least we have jokes! Like the first one, not even ten minutes in, where we see an art class drawing a nude model that farts while he’s standing there in the middle of the circle! Ha! He farts! Get it? It’s funny because it’s a natural bodily function, I guess. That’s why they repeat it SEVERAL MORE TIMES.

We’re not even ten minutes in yet. Annoying bitching from a spoiled college student, and fart jokes; that’s the movie so far. That’s all there is. Wondrous.

So apparently our main hero Ben gets so depressed over his self-inflicted loss of his girlfriend that he can’t sleep anymore, which gives him ample time for more whining about his inner pain. He takes a job at a supermarket where he gets a crush on the girl working the register. While trying to pass the time, he finds out he can actually freeze time. Doesn’t that sound like an interesting idea for a movie? Wouldn’t that be a great concept to elaborate on and work into the traditional romantic comedy template? Well, they don’t. They have Ben freeze time in order to undress all the women in the store at the time – quite a lot for the night shift, too – and draw them in varying poses that would be extremely humiliating to most people. But the movie suggests that it’s artistic.

I mean, goddamn, this just raises some questions…he doesn’t find anything wrong with this? He doesn’t see anything wrong with undressing women against their will and moving them around like some sick-ass fetish artist? It’s one thing to have an appreciation for the human body like many artists do, but that means getting WILLING CONSENT from people to pose nude for you to draw. It doesn’t mean what the perverted freaks that made this movie think, which is, “hey, I’ll just go around randomly undressing women and violating their privacy because I’m a depraved fuckwit with no sense of personal boundaries”! It wouldn't be so bad if he weren't made out to be such a sympathetic character, and if the movie was based around showing his clear mental deficiency, but eugh. It’s one thing to introduce a plot like this in a movie that explains the time freezing and makes it into something interesting and compelling, but this doesn’t explain anything about the time traveling! I get it; it’s supposed to be a metaphor for something about how you spend your time, but they don’t even have one bit of a notion of where they’re going with it. It’s completely directionless. They have a scene where it’s revealed that apparently there’s someone else who can move when time is frozen…but it’s never elaborated upon; only used as a plot point to reach the extremely hammy climax. Really, movie? Because I’d sure as hell want to investigate that further. I’d want to learn as much about the time freezing as possible. But this kid apparently only cares about not being single, and so he completely ignores every aspect of this groundbreaking scientific phenomenon which has been afflicted upon him.

What is explained, however, is how Ben got this so-called “appreciation of the female form” in the first place…apparently he and his dumbass womanizing friend were even friends as children, when they waited until his mom left and then looked at all his dad’s porn magazines, where Ben first sees the naked female form displayed as brazenly as it can be displayed. “I always thought it would be neater,” Ben narrates over this scene, referring to a woman’s tenderer bits. “Like a smooth, round, perfect hole.” And then his friend’s mom comes back and they have to hide them again. But they couldn’t hide their…nine-year-old-boy erections! “From then on, Sean’s mom always thought we were gay,” Ben narrates.

AGH! What is this shit? Who would actually find this funny?! It’s not funny; it’s just sexist, annoying crap without even one trace of real humor about it. It’s the bottom of the barrel, folks, and we’re not even halfway through. There’s still a lot more unfunny jokes, trite romance and horrible slime to slog through, so let’s just rush through it and get this over with, because I can’t take much more.

Ben’s co workers include a stereotypical Asian guy who is usually silent and is a master of karate, because that’s never been done before, and two jackasses who play the worst practical jokes known to man, like…pantsing him in front of the girl he likes, and placing penis-shaped shampoo into womens’ carts to see who buys it. Awful. Their boss, Jenkins, is a complete idiot and a pervert who I think actually kills starving African children every time he opens his mouth. I am not even exaggerating here; not ONE BIT of this guy’s dialogue is even in the same ballpark as what would be considered good humor. And that’s saying a lot, considering the caliber of the humor in this movie already. There are a lot of eye-raping montages showing our lovable cast of demented retards getting ready for a party, and…alright. Alright, honestly, what the hell is this? I am no longer responsible for any comments I make about anyone in this movie, or involved with it. It’s out of my hands.

He develops a romance with the cashier girl, who is clearly insane to even think about dating a nutball like him, but whatever. Their romance is cliché and completely uninteresting, and jumps sluggishly through all the usual hoops. She fulfills the dream he’s always had to find a girl who thinks artists are cool because of some bullshit reason. At a party, she sees him getting kissed by his ex girlfriend and storms off angry. They make up when she sees the volumes upon volumes of pictures he’s drawn of her displayed publicly in an art gallery, which suggests that she should definitely get back together, meaning that nothing matters except glorifying the woman and pandering to every inch of her ego. Nothing matters at all in a relationship except making her feel like a goddess. That’s all she needs and she’ll love you forever for that. Great job, Cashback. Great fucking job.

I…just hate this movie with every bone in my body, and I mean that. It’s so horrible that it goes beyond comprehension. This was a terrible experience that I will never revisit. In what universe could this possibly be considered interesting, thought provoking, emotional or enjoyable? It’s practically a spectacle in itself; how much can we possibly disgust and offend the audience? I don’t care if it’s all a big metaphor, it’s completely unwatchable. Appreciation for the female form? Don’t make me laugh; all this movie is is a depraved, perverted sideshow of female exploitation, nothing but the director’s excuse to show off how many women he can get to take their shirts off.

I feel sorry for everyone involved in this shitpiling to end all shitpilings, but I feel the need to go the extra mile and express how I really feel about this film: I hope the director (and by default, the writer) is castrated, stoned and anally violated, or any order of the above, and then stranded in a third world country and left to be eaten by vultures miles south of a third world nation he could have helped instead of spending money to make this movie. I hope all of the actors lose their careers over this movie, become hermits and drink themselves to death in cheap hotel rooms. I hope everyone else involved never works again, and finds themselves scorned forever by any known filmmaking community; maybe they can find work at gas stations or Publix. I hope every copy of this movie is burned in the ovens from the Holocaust (because it is similar on a smaller scale, to the film community) and sprinkled over the furthest point of the oceans imaginable, forgotten for forever and a day. I hate this movie with every fiber in me!

Harsh and unbelievably offensive? Yes. But you know why it’s okay? Because I was only using it as an example to illustrate my point, and therefore it’s artistic expression! Hah! Get it?