Review: ‘Shelf Life’

Sprightly, compact and quickly paced, Shelf Life is a nifty little allegorical number about second-hand life in a fallout shelter where two sisters and their brother have spent nearly their entire lives.

Sprightly, compact and quickly paced, Shelf Life is a nifty little allegorical number about second-hand life in a fallout shelter where two sisters and their brother have spent nearly their entire lives.

With the skeletons of mom and pop lying nearby, Tina, Pam and Scotty, now well into their 30s, go through the motions of real life as they have learned it from TV, which they have managed to receive uninterrupted over the years. A fair amount of the dialogue is chanted in unison and/or rhythmically, with the characters expressing joint or contrapuntal meanings within prescribed formats.

Based on an original stage piece created by the performers, who repeat their roles on screen, pic represents something of a departure from helmer Paul Bartel’s usual outrageous comedies, but features some of his best direction.

Shelf Life

Production

Director Paul Bartel; Producer Bradley Laven, Anne Kimmel; Screenplay O-Lan Jones, Andrea Stein, Jim Turner; Camera Philip Holahan; Editor Judd Maslansky; Music Andy Paley; Art Director Alex Tavoularis

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1993. Running time: 83 MIN.

With

O-Lan Jones Andrea Stein Jim Turner Paul Bartel Justin Houchin Shelby Lindley)
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