AFF 2012 Review: FREE SAMPLES

By Mark Saldana 

Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)

 

Imagine the Clerks characters Randall Graves and Dante Hicks merged into one, not quite as vulgar woman, forced to hand out free samples of some nasty soft served concoction from a stationed ice cream truck, and one will have the Jillian character (Jess Weixler) in this film.  Jillian has been persuaded to cover for her best friend Nancy (Halley Feiffer) who must attend to a family matter.  The trouble is that Jillian doesn’t really have the right personality to handle a customer service type job, and to make matters worse, she has a major hangover from the night before. She must attend to the lovely assortment of people demanding free samples of an ice cream like substance, on the day of her ex-boyfriend’s birthday.  In the process of dealing with these issues, Jillian faces the consequences that her recent lack of direction has offered.

Because this film does feel like a Clerks knockoff, it loses some points, but the script by Jim Beggarly does offer some hilarious dialogue.  Directed by Jay Gammill, Free Samples does have its awkward moments, particularly one scene with legendary actress Tippi Hedren which runs a bit too long.  I love her performance in the film, but the scene could have been written much better as its purpose feels lost in the lengthiness of it. I loved the performances by Jess Weixler whose caustic sarcasm provides for most of the laughs.  The movie also features fun performances by Jason Ritter, Halley Feiffer, Keir O’Donnell, and Jesse Eisenberg surprisingly portraying a smooth and confident gentleman.  I do recommend this as a comedic and entertaining piece, but not a particularly original one.

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