You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Price Check

Parker Posey grabs the role of marginally psychotic supermarket schemer Susan Felders and squeezes it like an overripe organic cantaloupe.

With: Parker Posey, Eric Mabius, Annie Parisse, Josh Pais, Edward Hermann, Amy Schumer.

Parker Posey grabs the role of marginally psychotic supermarket schemer Susan Felders and squeezes it like an overripe organic cantaloupe in “Price Check,” helmer Michael Walker’s charming and slightly unhinged low-budget comedy. After a strong start, the pic itself has trouble checking out, but it provides a terrific showcase for indie princess Posey, leading a topnotch cast. Its graceful swing from giddy to sobering could appeal to a wide-ranging audience.

Walker’s parable of moral compromise opens at the colorless Long Island offices of a struggling supermarket chain, where the natives are restless. A new boss is coming in and everyone’s on tenterhooks, including Pete Cozy (Eric Mabius), a husband, father of one and former music marketer who failed his way into the grocery-pricing biz.

But when the boss materializes, she’s a total surprise. Energetic, enthusiastic and encouraging, Susan (Posey) wants to shake things up and expects everyone to get onboard. To inspire her team, she throws parties, gets them gym discounts and even doubles Pete’s salary. He and his wife, Sarah (the marvelous Annie Parisse), no longer have to worry about money; Pete comes out of his professional coma and engages with his work. It seems too good to be true, and of course, it is.

For the first half of the film, Susan’s erratic craziness keeps things popping. She gets Pete to tell her who should be fired, then fires the other guy. She guzzles Maalox and fields phone calls from her obsessive ex-boyfriend back in Los Angeles. She invites herself to the preschool Halloween party of Pete and Sarah’s son and comes dressed as a stripper Pocahontas. During an office party, she has sex with the most obnoxious guy in the office (a terrific Josh Pais). She has plans to ratchet up sales, and when the company chairman, Bennington (Edward Hermann) needs convincing, she drags Pete to L.A. to help her strong-arm the board. And to have sex.

“Price Check” takes a left turn at this point, and Susan — who only wants a baby — starts to slowly recede from the story. Her marketing strategies and the changes she insists on imposing are seemingly impossible, but somehow the folks in the office are pulling it off; Lila (Amy Schumer), who has some of the better comic moments in the film, delivers a Knute Rockne-esque pep talk that’s both shocking and hilarious.

But the focus of the film starts to shift toward Pete, who at first thinks he’s going to land the big L.A. job offered by Bennington, only to have the rug pulled out from under him. The subsequent tonal shifts aren’t jolting, but the momentum starts to ebb as the film becomes more sober. What had started out as unpredictable and whacky becomes more settled, although the same thing is happening to the characters. “Price Check” becomes more naturalistic and serious, but at the same time, it seems to be falling off a cliff.

There’s quite a bit about marketing and strategic sales bandied about in the pic, and while it may all be gibberish, it sounds believable. Schumer has some good lines, but Posey gets the lion’s share, her character a combination of the crafty and the clueless, the diplomatic and the tactless (Long Island, she notes, is “like the Valley, but the people are pale and yucky.”) She’s a wonderful character, and auds may well wish there were more of her.

Production values are low-budget without being too obvious about it, and Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips’ music is noteworthy.

Price Check

Production: A Dolly Hall production. Produced by Hall. Directed, written by Michael Walker.

Crew: Camera (color), Sam Chase; editors, Michael Taylor, Jen Lame; music, Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips; music supervisor, Jackie Mulhearn; production designer, Nadya Gurevich; art directors, Lee Clayton, Lauren Fitzsimmons; costume designer, Astrid Brucker; sound, Micah Bloomberg; supervising sound editor/re-recording mixer, Tom Paul; assistant director, Joe "JC" Ciccarella; line producer, Alli Maxwell; casting, Kerry Barden, Paul Schnee. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Premieres), Jan. 25, 2012. Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Parker Posey, Eric Mabius, Annie Parisse, Josh Pais, Edward Hermann, Amy Schumer.

More Film

  • Black Panther Movie

    Oscars: 'Black Panther' Leads Best Picture Nominees to Near-Record Box Office Grosses

    This year’s Academy Award nominees proved the Oscars don’t need a popular film category to recognize movies with huge box office grosses. The 2019 crop of best picture hopefuls have generated an impressive $1.26 billion so far in North America alone. That bounty is led by “Black Panther,” which earned a sensational $700 million at [...]

  • oscar nominations 2019 stream online

    How to Watch This Year’s Oscar-Nominated Films

    The 2019 Oscar nominations have been announced, and if you want to catch up on the nominees, we’ve rounded up some easy ways to watch or stream the original films, documentaries, and songs competing for an award. Period comedy “The Favourite” and Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” lead the pack with 10 nominations apiece, while “Green Book” [...]

  • Pawel Pawlikowski "Cold War"

    Pawel Pawlikowski's 'Cold War' Makes History for Poland

    Alfonso Cuaron might’ve tied an Oscar record with four nods to his name for “Roma,” which scored 10 nominations overall. But another black-and-white film in a foreign language, Pawel Pawlikowski’s jazz-infused romantic drama “Cold War,” was honored with three Academy Award nominations Tuesday, the most in history for a primarily Polish-backed production. The film will [...]


    U.K. Cinema Attendance in 2018 Was Highest Since 1970

    Cinema attendance in the U.K. topped 177 million in 2018, the highest number since 1970. Box office held firm at £1.3 billion ($1.7 billion) through the year as 10 movies crossed the £30 million threshold in the year. That compares with six films in 2017. After a sweltering summer in the U.K. and a strong [...]

  • ASIB Roma Black Panther

    Vote: Which Movie Should Win the Oscar for Best Picture?

    The 91st Oscar nominations were unveiled on Tuesday with “Roma” and “The Favourite” leading the way with 10 nods each. “Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron’s love-letter to his childhood nanny, is Netflix’s first-ever best picture nomination and could make history as the first foreign-language movie to ever win the top prize at the Academy Awards. Other best [...]

  • Göteborg TV Drama Vision Expects 60

    TV Drama Vision Set to Take Pulse of Nordic Commissioners’ Wish List

    More than 360 international delegates are expected at Göteborg’s 13th Nordic TV Drama Vision (Jan. 30-31) described by head of industry Cia Edström as a ‘boutique event’, where top Nordic and international drama professionals gather each year to gauge the state of the Nordic market and hot content. For the first time, to comply with the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content