It has been years -- at least since Zoe Cassavetes' underseen Broken English and perhaps since she burst on to the scene in the early 1990s -- since Parker Posey has had a role as meaty and perfect for her as Susan Felders in Michael Walker's Price Check.
Walker's film lets Posey run wild. Not that she does -- but this is a character that lets her play to her strengths. Her vivacious energy, her mercurial moods, her superlative sense of comic timing -- all come to the fore in this tasty and dark little comedy about ambition and dreams deferred.
The center of the film is Pete Cozy (Eric Mabius), a midlevel marketing executive at the sleepy Long Island branch office of a mega-grocery corporation. Pete, who once dreamed of making his mark in the music industry by finding the next hot band, has put that idea aside to be a responsible adult. He's got a wife, a child, a mortgage -- and bills that keep him on edge.
But, as he tells his wife, he has no interest in trying to work his way up to vice president. Sure, he'd make more money -- but he doesn't want the headaches and long hours that go with that. He wants to be able to leave work at 5 p.m. and come home for dinner, to make his family his priority. He doesn't want a career; he just wants a job that he can forget about when he leaves the office.
That all changes when his supervisor leaves for another job and his department gets a new boss: Susan Felders. She's a go-getter who loves the grocery business and believes she can change the culture -- not just of the office but of the whole company. She's a rising corporate star and wants to use this Long Island branch as her launch pad.
And, in Pete, she spots a talent who can help her get there. She not only promotes him without ceremony -- doubling his salary in a single off-handed sentence -- she co-opts his laid back existence, challenging him to be the star she knows he can be. Before long, she's got him believing it, too.
This review continues on my website.