Directed by Stephen Gallacher and written by Chris Coucher: Henry (Jamie Blackley) gets more than he bargained for as he receives life advice from a self-service, voiced by national treasure Olivia Colman. Also starring Andrew Ellis and Izzy Laughland.
As much as, on any average occasion, no one is grateful for the self-service checkout’s incessant comments, in particular the aptly chosen line for the film’s title “unexpected item”. We’ve all heard it a hundred times and causes a public nuisance daily for unwitting shoppers doing nothing wrong. In the film’s case that one-sided conversation takes quite a few steps further, with this machine, rather than attempting to take over the world, giving helpful life advice. There are certainly times when we can use that nudge to prompt us into doing something when we’re anxious, hesitant, nervous or afraid, while it would normally come from a friend or loved one and not a machine built to allow us to purchase items while doing away with pesky human contact, why not?
Henry (Blackley) gets that advice in a sweet, sarcastic and endearing manner, the kind of nicely toned yet bitter edged wording that can only be provided than none other than Olivia Colman with her unique blend of kind with a hint of harsh. Blackley’s performance is perfectly understated and relatable, with a hint of cheesy to make it hit the right tone.
Finding the humour in everyday life, without becoming overtly outlandish or ridiculous is a highly respectable achievement and one accomplished by this film. Unexpected Item is a delightful way to spend a handful of minutes and a satisfying viewing experience and isn’t that exactly what any film fan is looking for?
Unexpected Item is a sweet and witty film that hits the spot. It will be the only instance you’ll wish your time at the check out is longer.