Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Review: Free Samples 
1.5 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund

If you're particularly fond of Hitchcock muse Tippi Hedren, then you're among the few who should be even slightly persuaded to sit through Free Samples, an angry indie that favors hollow ridicule over credibility. In the L.A.-set film, Hedren plays an aging bombshell not unlike herself, who keeps the TV tuned to TCM because it "seems like a reunion," and shares insights on lust and vanity like a shrewd call girl trapped in elderly skin. Hedren's brief scenes prove remarkably arresting, and her character's life tips for lead whiner Jillian (Jess Weixler) mark the only true escape from a litany of bad jokes and affected crises. Frequenting the ice cream truck that Jillian's manning as a favor to a friend, Hedren's actress, Betty, offers fascinating wisdom on everything from life stages to gay husbands, and she confides that she visits the truck because it reminds her of her childhood. But the fact that Betty prefers ski poles to a cane, and walks down the street with them in the gleam of the midday sun, is a good indication of the kind of faux quirks this movie peddles, and it's telling that even the ice cream is discussed as being creepily artificial.

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