You can usually count on Parker Posey. Her untiring comedy and witty improv helped her gain notoriety in the 90s, starring (at a young age) alongside older generation comedic vets in Christopher Guest films. This Party Girl was hailed as the original queen of independent cinema. She’s one of the rarities in Hollywood who could have easily shot to superstardom with her credentials, but chose instead to take chances on independent films. That said, it’s a real shame to watch her talents dry up in the easily forgettable Price Check.
Eric Mabius (the guy you only remember from Resident Evil) stars as Peter Cozy, an underpaid, overworked pushover employee at a down-on-its-luck grocery store chain. His old boss recently quit, and Peter was passed up on the promotion because the higher ups decided to bring in fresh blood, presumably with a lot more talent. This fresh blood is Susan Felders (the lovely Posey), an energetic woman on a constant high to shape up the company. Now’s the time to let you in on a secret: Susan doesn’t want to do much work - she’s aloof and lazy. To satisfy her unwillingness to work, she gives Cozy the raise he wants and enlists him to help her do all the things she was brought in by the company to do, which brings the ruckus to his quiet and harmonious life.
While Parker can still throw those awesome sassy punchlines (and she sure does here), the film relies heavily on her wacky comedy, which ultimately doesn’t give the story and other characters much room to please. Mabius’ characterless Peter is just as fun to watch as the opening credits in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Mabius adds nothing to the role other than a good looking face and a $300 haircut.
The film does, however, carry a best kept secret. That is Amy Schumer, who is raunch comedy’s wet dream. In Price Check, before a too-early-to-be-awake meeting, Schumer’s Lila says, “I feel like shit. Being human sucks. I hope someone brought donuts.” She delivers this in the most calm-yet-unhinged way and it’s ridiculously funny. Like Posey, Schumer gets campy humor and dumbs it down to her advantage. And while she hasn’t done many films, she has written and starred in numerous skits and sketches on Comedy Central. She’s a rarity and it’s only a matter of time before Hollywood gets ahold of her.
Price Check marks the first feature that director Michael Walker has made since his 2008 horror movie, Chasing Sleep, with Jeff Daniels. The long absence may be why this film falls flat, despite having an illustrious comedian in it. While Walker should take some credit for the jokes in the film, the price of the story isn’t much and the film checks out before it even really gets started.