You can choose to look at a grass-roots indie flick as loaded with amateurish acting and unpolished excess. I choose to look at a grass-roots indie flick as if it were created by my own neighbors. This allows me to be truthful while still being kind. And the truth is simply this: While Supplies Last is kind of a weird mess - an oddly endearing mess nonetheless.Sometimes the sheer goodwill of an aspiring indie can allow you to overlook a handful of glaring missteps. With a more mercenary editor, this loopy musical comedy would be a bona-fide cult flick waitin' to happen. As it stands, While Supplies Last houses a handful of truly inspired moments and performances - ensconsed in a painfully languid pace and surrounded by more than a few jarringly schizophrenic mood swings.
The central hub of this thoughtful chaos is the Spread the Word advertising agency. The employees spend their time construcing a massive 'sex network', one that clearly illustrates how damn promiscuous everyone is. Each employee has their own bizarre sex life to visit; the jingle-writer is doomed with AIDS, the boss has a stunningly slutty wife, the receptionist is a former porn queen...
Subplots also include a lengthy jab at Disney and Barney (both of which are always welcome), a slightly effective twist on Marilyn Manson-style rock stars, and one Carol Kane-type who obsesses hysterically about her social standing...or decided lack thereof.
Multi-tasking lunatic writer/director/producer/editor Matthew Schutt clearly has a lot on his mind. Infusing an acidic indictment of modern commercialism (Disney in particular) with a parallel metaphor about the AIDS virus and an enjoyably raunchy sitcom satire, While Supplies Last has no shortage of ideas.
Which is kind of the problem...
Clocking in at a truly unwieldy 2 hours, the flick suffers from simple overstuffage. Bizarre musical numbers precede moments that are clearly meant to be dramatic and touching, several scenes that work a clever kernel inevitably end up overstaying their welcome, and the movie skirts around several compelling thoughts while avoiding an overall point.
But that's the downside. There IS an upside...
Schutt employs a clever visual conceit by presenting his 'contaminated' characters in black and white. (The gimmick works well in a storytelling sense plus it plain old looks cool. A little research informs me that over 90,000 FX shots were created for the movie, so the guy automatically gets an A freakin' plus for effort.)
Another hidden gem comes in the form of one Amy Claire. The adorable blonde plays a horny gal who (for some illogical reason) cannot find a bedmate. Her character pops up every fifteen minutes and Claire earns belly laughs each time. Loud hearty laughs; I'm not kidding. This girl is drop-dead hilarious.
Simply put, the good manages to outweigh the bad here - though I'm convinced a couple more trips to the editing station would improve the film immensely. I really enjoyed big specific chunks of this movie.Consider this a 3.5 star rating, as the flick is certainly better than 'plain old average'. Much as I wanted to love this flick unreservedly (it's sarcastic, cynical and dark, which I always appreciate), While Supplies Last consistently reminded me of a particularly witty and colorful houseguest - one that overstays his welcome by about 30%.