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Late Night Shopping (2001)

A group of friends want more from life than their boring night shifts.

Directed by:

Saul Metzstein

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 87 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United Kingdom

'Late Night Shopping' is the story of four young friends, all of whom work night shifts in dead-end jobs and meet up after work in a local all-night café every day. They are generally bored, unhappy and unable to see any future for themselves. Hospital porter Sean (Luke de Woolfson) hasn't seen his girlfriend Madeline (Heike Makatsch) in three weeks although they live together – she works days while he works nights and the two have been passing each other by. Sean isn't even sure that Madeline is still his girlfriend and is unsure how to find out or what to do about the situation. To make things more complicated, he is attracted to the girlfriend of a coma patient at the hospital where he works.

Vincent (James Lance) stacks shelves in a supermarket and is a flirt who takes every opportunity to chat up women – he even unknowingly sleeps with Sean's girlfriend Madeline. Lenny (Enzo Cilenti) is a bit of a geek who works in a call centre and fancies a girl at his work but is too terrified to ask her out. Instead, he phones her pretending to be someone else. Although Jody (Kate Ashfield) has always felt that the boys leave her out of things, she still keeps turning up at the café even though she was fired from her job some weeks ago – she has nowhere else to go. Their dull lives suddenly become more interesting when Sean discovers that Madeline has left and wants to track her down so that he can tell her he loves her.

'Late Night Shopping' is a worthy addition to the stable of understated but outstanding British romantic comedies. Down-to-earth and realistic, the characters are easy to like and will be familiar to many young people, and many older ones. The largely-unknown ensemble cast all do a fine job of making their characters genuine and appealing, and one can hope to see more of them in future. The script is confident and well-executed, and the story charms with its ironic situations and genial comedy. Unlike many recent British comedies, there are no drugs or violence, and the sex is implied rather than explicit, leaving the story to carry the film – which it does admirably.

It's Got: Appealing characters convincingly portrayed.

It Needs: To get a wider audience and crack the American market.

DVD Extras Good solid collection of extras including some interesting behind the scenes insights. Extras: Directors & writers commentary, Audio description, Cast & crew interviews, Deleted scenes, Featurette, On location, Tricks, Trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 7/10

Alternatives:

Human Traffic, Trainspotting., Walking and Talking

Summary

Super British romantic comedy with appealingly dysfunctional characters and plenty of charm.

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