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Cashback Reviews

A London art student, chronically sleepless after a devastating breakup with his girlfriend, takes a late-shift supermarket job, where he coolly observes his misfit coworkers and undresses pretty women with his eyes in U.K. filmmaker Sean Ellis' feature debut, ingeniously built around his Oscar-nominated 2003 short.. Ben (Sean Biggerstaff, best known for the small role of Oliver Wood in the first two HARRY POTTER films), a born romantic, can't help obsessing about the ugly end of his fairy-tale romance with Suzy (Michelle Ryan): Unable to sleep and tormented by the extra obsessing time insomnia affords him, Ben decides to put the extra hours to work. He takes a job at Sainsbury's Market, reporting to world-class jerk Jenkins (Stuart Goodwin) and stocking shelves with a sorry collection of bored, stupid slackers — notably goofy boneheads Barry (Michael Dixon) and Matt (Michael Lambourne), who spend their shifts diligently figuring out ways not to work, and token weirdo Brian (Marc Pickering), who fancies himself a master of the martial arts. Ben whiles away his hours by checking out the checkout girl, the quiet and serious Sharon (Emilia Fox) — who is also the unwilling object of Jenkins' relentless, obnoxious attentions — and retreating into the fantasy that he can freeze time. This gift affords him the opportunity to undress unsuspecting women, not because he's a pervy molester but because as an artist he's in thrall to the timeless beauty of the female form. He eventually works up the nerve to ask Sharon out, but Ben is skittish and obstacles to their blossoming romance lurk everywhere. Can he step up and love again? Ellis' slight film has its charms, and the backstory he concocted to lead into the original 18-minute short is effective. But the film lags badly in the middle; the flashbacks to Ben's childhood aren't especially interesting and the lengthy soccer sequence is sheer dead weight. And that's a shame, because the last scene is a genuinely magical evocation of the sheer, blissful wonder of new love.