Price Check: Sundance Film Review

Price Check Sundance Film Festival Press Image

Price Check Sundance Film Festival Press Image

A workplace comedy that knows how to mine a substantial vein of situational humor.

Indie darling Parker Posey stars as an executive at a supermarket chain in Michael Walker's workplace comedy.

PARK CITY — A prime example of the type of well-produced, smartly cast independent features that Sundance has been helping launch into the theatrical marketplace over the past few years, Price Check hits enough sweet notes to support a broad arthouse release.

Pete Cozy works as a mid-level manager at the headquarters of a regional supermarket chain in Long Island, although he’d rather still be in the music industry. Regardless, he’s happy to have a position without too much responsibility so that he can spend more time with his wife Sara (Annie Parisse) and son Henry (Finn Donoghue), despite the low salary and accumulating credit card debt.

When his supervisor in the pricing department leaves the company, the position is filled by Susan Felders (Parker Posey), a transfer from the corporate office, rumored to be “a real ball-buster” according to one co-worker. When she arrives, however, Susan proves to be an effective team player -- a straight-talking, free-cussing fireball determined to reshape the department and the store chain into a powerhouse within the larger corporation.

PHOTOS: The Scene at Sundance Film Festival 2012

She makes some quick changes at the office, promoting Pete to a VP position and doubling his salary, which pleases his wife, but increases his workload. Single and new in town, Susan quickly works her way into Pete’s family life, inviting herself to his son’s school Halloween party and palling up to his wife. As the extra workload adds up to more hours in the office and an LA business trip with his boss, Pete and Susan spend an increasing amount of time together, much to the concern of his wife.

Walker’s script demonstrates an innate familiarity with office politics and the powerplays that form the strategic basis for climbing the corporate ladder. Realistic situations, sharp dialogue and clever humor contribute to the overall authenticity of the workplace atmosphere. Walker directs with precision and production values are excellent overall.

As Pete’s boss, Sundance veteran Posey brings a certain gonzo enthusiasm to the office setting, pulling off the role with expert comic timing. Essentially playing her straight man, Mabius keeps his performance dialed back to extract the humor from an abundance of awkward setups. The supporting cast of co-workers is solid without overshadowing the leads. Music by Luna’s Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips provides the right plaintive note to undercut some of the more overbearing humor.

Venue: Sundance Film Festival, Premieres
Production company: Price Check Films
Cast: Parker Posey, Eric Mabius, Annie Parisse, Josh Pais, Cheyenne Jackson, Edward Herrmann
Director/screenwriter: Michael Walker    
Producer: Dolly Hall    
Director of photography: Sam Chase
Production designer: Nadya Gurevich    
Costumes: Astrid Brucker    
Music: Dean Wareham, Britta Phillips
Editors: Michael Taylor, Jen Lame    
Sales: Submarine Entertainment
 No rating, 93 minutes