Movies – “Cashback” is Aptly Named

Look, it’s not that “Cashback” is a badly done movie. It’s not, at least visually. The movie has plenty of visual tricks and ideas that at least make it pretty to watch and even somewhat engaging. It’s the story that’s the problem.

The main problem is the hero of the story is what every guy in college, especially in the arts, thinks he is, namely a sensitive old soul, and the writer doesn’t realize that actually he’s a callow little prick. I mean, this guy discovers the ability to stop time, and his use of it is to strip women naked in the supermarket and draw pictures of it, all while layering on the usual blather about the beauty of the female form. I dislike the theory of “the male gaze” for any number of reasons, but it’s like the writer and director, Sean Ellis, is out to prove it right down to the little details. He’s trying to use his intellect to justify his erections and blame his total lack of understanding of women on women.

And, of course, the girl who dumps him at the beginning and who he spends his nights mooning over realizes what a great thing she has, and he gets the chance to dump her. Oh, and also, out of nowhere, a gallery owner will see his sketches and think he’s a genius. Also, he’ll win the lottery.

OK, I’m making that last part up. But the script wanders into such blatant Mary Sue/wish fulfillment territory that it becomes painful pretty quickly.

Sean Ellis is a talented filmmaker, if a little too flashy for his own good. Hopefully he can find better outlets for his eye, or at least something less blatantly an attempt to rewrite his college years.


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