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Review byMatthew Turner7/05/2008

One out of Five stars
Running time: 102 mins

Disappointing drama that squanders its intriguing premise and uses a lot of tedious theorizing about art and beauty as a thinly-veiled excuse to inject some nudity.

What's it all about?
Based on an Oscar nominated short film, Cashback stars Sean Biggerstaff (don't all rush at once, Harry Potter fans) as aspiring artist Ben Willis, who develops a severe case of insomnia after a bad break-up with his girlfriend Suzy (Michelle Ryan). In order to kill the extra eight hours he suddenly has on his hands, he takes a job at his local supermarket, where he begins to fall for Sharon (Emilia Fox), an attractive, sweet-natured checkout girl.

While on a shift, Ben's insomnia leads him to believe that he can pause time, so he uses his newfound gift to practice his art skillz by, um, undressing female customers and painting their portraits. Meanwhile, his designs on Sharon hit a snag when an obnoxious colleague (Michael Dixon) beats him to the punch and asks her out first.

The Bad
It's no surprise to discover that Cashback was originally a short film, because writer-director Sean Ellis has clearly struggled to pad it out into a full-length feature. There's the germ of a good idea here, but all the interesting ideas are quickly jettisoned in favour of a rather nondescript romance storyline.

It doesn't help that we lose all sympathy for Ben the moment he starts undressing his frozen customers (all of whom, unsurprisingly, are drop-dead gorgeous – this, incidentally, is the full extent of glamour model Keeley Hazell's cameo). Despite the script's tedious witterings about art, truth and beauty, it doesn't change the fact that Ben comes across as rather creepy.

The Worst
In addition, the acting is extremely dodgy in places and there's zero chemistry between Biggerstaff and Fox.

Worth seeing?
In short, Cashback is a disappointing, frequently pretentious British drama that's let down by a tedious script, a dull plot and some dodgy acting. Cashback? Money back, more like.

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Content updated: 07/12/2019 10:17

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