This is low budget filmmaking done for mainstream audiences, and done well

The Strip

on January 15, 2010 by Tim Cogshell
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Set in a small, off-brand electronics store in a suburban strip mall, The Strip revolves around a staff of misfit employees who spend their days selling crappy electronics and contemplating the appetizers at TGI Friday as they wait for “something” to happen. This is a fine little movie in every since of the word little. Which is to say the story, themes and the humor are calculated to cost very little, yet still garner a response from the largest likely audience. That likely audience will be little (in number) as well, given the small promotional budget and lack of big name stars (former Kid N’ The Hall, Dave Foley, notwithstanding). That said, The Strip is a both funny and endearing, well acted by a dedicated cast of mostly unknowns and well written and helmed by debuting director Jameel Khan, who drew on his real life experiences working in an strip mall electronics store for inspiration.

Glenn (Foley) is the dedicated, semi-rational manager of the store and its less dedicated and completely irrational employees. The shop workers include Jeff (Billy Aaron Brown), who’s not very quick on the uptake; Rick (Cory Christmas) a manly-man who nevertheless lives with his mother and fancies himself an actor; Avi (Federico), a happy-go-lucky Persian immigrant (based on writer/director Kahn) who’s about to tie-the-knot in an arranged marriage to a girl way too hot for him; and Kyle (Rodney Scott), the one perfectly rational employee. Kyle is the son of the store owner, which brings with it an entire set of issues he’s not quite ready to deal with—at least until he meets Melissa (Jenny Wade), a quirky girl who helps him get a fix on what he really wants, which is not to take over his father’s crappy, off-brand electronics store.

Though the themes and storyline are fairly ordinary, the fundamental charm of this eclectic cast along with writer/director Khan’s fanciful memories of his time working in strip malls are more than enough to carry the film for its 91 minute run. Plus it’s all fairly pithy and that, along with a few good jokes, makes The Strip better than many of its big-budget studio counterparts with name brand actors, directors and big marketing campaigns. Think of it as a discount movie that’s every bit as good as the name brand movies, only cheaper. Which means that most audiences will wait for it to hit the DVD sell rack, but never regret the purchase.

Distributor: Fortress Products
Cast: Dave Foley, Rodney Scott, Billy Aaron Brown, Federico Dordei, Jenny Wade, Cory Christmas and Chelcie Ross
Director/Screenwriter/Producer: Jameel Khan
Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG-13 for sexual references.
Running time: 91 min.
Release date: December 4 ltd.

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