Thursday, May 23, 2013

Review: 10 Items or Less (2006)

Freeman and Vega are terrific.

Directed by Brad Silberling
Produced by Julie Lynn, Lori McCreary, and Brad Silberling
Written by Brad Silberling
Starring Morgan Freeman, Paz Vega, Bobby Cannavale, Anne Dudek, and Jonah Hill


Two people meeting for a brief moment, changing each other's lives forever and forming a lasting bond they will never forget. It's been done before (and it will be done again); but it works wonderfully in this small film. Morgan Freeman stars as a has-been actor, who is considering a film role as a grocery store clerk. In preparation, he arranges to visit a run-of-the-mill Californian establishment, where he meets a checker (Vega) at the 10 Items or Less counter. She is hard-working and driven, but she does nothing to better her situation. As the two interact, they open themselves to each other and share a life-changing experience, spending the rest of the day together.

Given its 15-day shoot, the intimate nature of this film benefits immensely from the two skilled leads. Freeman is at his best, deconstructing the wit, charm, and pain his character possesses. Vega (in only her second role in English) is a natural, embodying her character's frustration and insecurities with ease. The chemistry between Freeman and Vega is the primary reason for the film's success. Granted, the screenplay has a sweet set-up, but it's up to the actors to make this familiar story seem fresh. Aside from their performances, the film also offers moments that I never thought I would see on film. The prime example: Morgan Freeman high fives Jonah Hill and Jim Parsons. Who ever dreamed scenes like those would exist? For a charming indie film, look no further than 10 Items.

Oscar Tally: None


  1. Great peak at a film I've never seen (and I think very few have). I always got this 'straight to video' vibe from this film, but I should check it out. Freeman continually regurgitates the same character, and so I've avoided a lot of his more recent fare (unless there are other draws) but I'm intrigued by Vega, so I'll bite.

    1. Yeah, it had a very limited theatrical release, but I can see that vibe. I think this is a different performance than Freeman usually regurgitates. I know some people liked Vega in Spanglish, but I think she's much better here. Hope you check it out. It's a quick watch, and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.

  2. Beautiful review! You say so much in a concise post, and I love the way you described the character development in this film. It definitely sounds like my cup of tea.

    1. Thanks! Some reviews turn out better than others. I'm glad you liked this one so much. :) The film is only 82 minutes long, so I think it'd be worth it. Hope you get to see it.