Sunday, August 20, 2017

Now on Netflix: Camera Store (2017)

Camera Store (2017) - Written and Directed by Scott Marshall Smith; Starring John Larroquette, Cheryl Ladd, John Rhys-Davies, Laura Silverman.

By Kenny Howell

A pretty solid, small film about a camera store in a mall near the end of the film age kind of falls apart in the final act in this indie drama.

Camera Store has a very stagey presence as pretty much all of the film takes place inside a suburban mall in the early 1990s. John Larroquette plays Ray LaPine, the man that runs the camera store which is owned by an asshole that spends most of his time down in Florida.

Ray has an idea for a 1-hour photo booth he wants to put into the mall, but some things are stacked against him, partially his attitude which has been built over the years by tragedy and resentment of his place in his life. He lashes out at everyone, and you get the feeling that the final breaking point is coming soon.

He works out his days in the store with a sad little man named Pinky (John Rhys-Davies) that is stuck at the store near his retirement age with no comfort in how his final years will be spent. There is also Pete (Justin Lieberman), a young man who was brought on for Christmas time help. He strikes up a relationship with a girl named Penny (Maddie McCormick) that he saw on the bus on the way to work who is now roaming the mall.

The entire events of the film take place on Christmas Eve as the store gets its final rush before the holiday. Things spiral out of control for the characters involved, as their somewhat sad existence continues to wear on them as they try to work out their issues.

Camera Store is a bit heavy handed, and the actors occasionally seem like they are playing to the last row of a theater, but it is affecting at times, specifically because of the work of Larroquette. He is one of the few actors that gets the gravitas balance that the film needs, never really over selling it and just letting things unfold but being forceful in his performance. There is an unnecessary twist at the end that kind of changes the way you look at the rest of the film, but other than that, it's a solid ensemble piece.

Camera Store is now streaming on Netflix.

Rating: **1/2

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