A very promising premise that loses its rigor to narcissistic self-immersion.
It is true that art is inherently narcissistic; it is all about the artist's vision of the world. The artist allows us to see things differently by shunning the familiar and comfortable collective outlook and assuming an individual perspective. Nevertheless, as the saying goes, it is takes two to tango, and the artistic process, even though innately egoistic, is not self-reflective. The audience is always an integral part.
Much of the film's freshness and originality have been obscured by Ellis's aimless meandering through his vision as an artist. It is definitely wonderful that he shares his exceptional vision with us, but he ignores the refinement necessary for viewers' reception. The end result is a picture that lacks focus and purpose, and borders on infantile disarray. Although it clearly sets itself within the boundaries of metafiction, the tone comes off as distant and lofty (pretty much like Biggerstaff's face throughout the movie) that the comic and amorous elements have become irrevocably dissonant.
I love films that leave me with mixed feelings. However, Cashback has left me with mixed feelings I cannot relate to or even attempt to understand. I do not think of myself as an artist but I cherish imagination more than words can say, and I know that confusion (the state of being confused and confusing) is one price to pay for this wonderful gift. It is the artist's choice though to either reach out or further distance him/herself. I mentioned earlier that the film is metafictional in the sense that Ellis's artistic choices in delivering the film to us is echoed by Willis's choices in trying to impart his art on the world around him. Both handle the outside world and its inhabitants as inferior subjects detached from the self to the extent that the humanity of the connection is reduced to a microscopic size; the human element in Ellis's picture is basically as emotionally aloof as the love relationship between Ben and Sharon.
The artist's eyes notice things that we cannot see, and attract our attention to them. Ellis and Willis have got only half of their job done.
Saw this on 10/7/15
Cashback is a surprisingly good turn on stupid romantic movies by providing an artistic adult comedy with some sci-fi elements. I believe that men will like this movie better because it's similar to American Pie and all, only that it doesn't try every now and then to be funny. It's humour is natural and the performances are good.
The laborious love story unfolds against the supermarket backdrop where the residual entertainment value of this film lies. A loose collection of genuinely funny moments produced by the supermarket staff: a wannabe stuntman and his sidekick, a store manager who tries too hard to be David Brent and a practiser of martial arts whose only function in the film is to produce a five second humorous sequence. The novelty of the time freezing ability and various comic interludes, however quickly wears off and a sense of tedium sets in as the film inexorably moves toward the predictably saccharine ending. Fox inevitably witnesses an inadvertent kiss between Biggerstaff and his ex-girlfriend and a brief period of crisis ensues. Equally inevitably the final scene witnesses the reconciliation of Fox and Biggerstaff in a ludicrously clichÃ (C) fashion. Biggerstaff?s dispassionate voice-overs certainly contribute to the boredom and his attempts at appearing apathetic in front of the camera pale in comparison to Zach Braff in Garden State or Simon Pegg in Dawn of the Dead.
Frankly, the romantic-comedy genre is better off without this film and its sometimes laughably corny dialogue.