Wong Kar-wai on aisle 4 and Michel Gondry on aisle 6, with Kevin Smith as mop jockey at all points in betweensuch is the lost-in-the-supermarket milieu of writer-director Sean Ellis's whimsical comedy, expanded from his Oscar-nominated 2004 short Cashback. Insomniac art student Ben (Sean Biggerstaff from the Harry Potter franchise) nurses his bad break-up by clerking at an open-all-nite superstore staffed by frolicsome hooligans, a starched-prick boss (Stuart Goodwin), and a checkout girl (Emilia Fox) he can't help but check out. Whenever the night drags, the hero simply stops time and wanders the aisles stripping the freeze-framed female customers (as pneumatic a bunch as those Michael Bay cherry-picked to decorate Transformers) and using them as models for his sketch portfolio. Ellis works hard to gloss up this sicko conceit, applying a patina of winsome quirkiness as liberally as Mop 'n' Glo: The movie is too cute by half, made close to unbearable whenever Ben's narration spews glib pseudo-profundities about memory and temporal stillness. But the flaky humor of wage slaves serial-killing time is good, rude fun; the trompe l'oeil camera trickery creates a woozy sleepwalking effect; and Ellis (a fashion photographer who's collaborated with David Lynch) and cinematographer Angus Hudson shoot the immaculate rows of paper towels and canned veggies with an Andreas Gurskylike eye for symmetrical splendor. It's all so lovely, you'll want to go out at 3 a.m. to buy Cool Whip.
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