Linda Palmer, Laree' D Griffith
Before I jump into the review itself, I'd like to take a moment to rant a little. About what? Massive screener watermarks. If absolutely required, put it at the start or end of the film. Put it within the letterbox, but please please, please please please - don't put it in massive letters across the screen - for an entire movie! There's nothing more distracting than a giant "PRESS SCREENER ONLY" plastered over top the film you're trying to watch. Nothing drags a reviewer out of the world a film tries so hard to create - than seeing those words so big, you can't actually see what's happening onscreen. As for piracy? I highly doubt a bootlegger of film will care about a watermark. With that said, I was incredibly happy that "Turnover" was entertaining enough - to make me un-see that dastardly watermark. So very happy.
Moving onto the film itself - in a nutshell? Loved it! "Turnover" is a feel good comedy with a touch of something more just below the surface. Fear. That's right folks - I said it. Fear. Not the kind of fear akin to a horror or slasher flick. Rather the kind of fear that's hard to pinpoint, and even harder to deal with. It's the backbone of a good comedy and the heart of any feel good movie. It's the scary nature of life, or the awkward nature of a certain fear, that allows other emotions to take root. With "Turnover" that fear is of change and differences. Can you think of anything that can be more scary - or funny than change?
In the movie, Peter is a stressed out café owner. As if the issues with his heart were not enough, his marriage is failing and his business has really seen better days. It's a typical setup for a film like this and cliché for a reason. It works. We can all relate in one way or the other and Peter represents the every man. The John Smiths of the world. It doesn't hurt that these aspects are also a perfect setup for comedic high jinks - doesn't hurt one bit.
Without Peter's knowledge, his butthurt - and entitled - manager, takes it upon himself to sabotage the café. Hiring who he deems as rejects, to ensure the business completely fails. This freak-show of new hires is the meat and potatoes of the comedy. At one point things get so absurd, in the best possible way, that Peter considers closing shop. Of course, because this is that kind of film, that never happens. Well... it sort of does, but it's more like a re-brand. More importantly, everything here from start to finish is pretty darn funny. Character funny. Situation funny. Just plain funny - with that hint of fear and sprinkles of tolerance and understanding. The fear of change is the catalyst - the perseverance of different people, from all walks of life, is the comic relief.
Technically, this film looks great. That indie look is not present and "Turnover" is a slick and polished movie. No surprise. Where Palmer's flick really steps up to the plate is with the cast. A good script is always a great place to start - but plenty of good scripts and ideas exist. The same can be said about the production aspects. Sure. A bad looking film can be a deal-breaker... but a great looking film can still suck. It all comes down to the people playing the parts. And here, I was a little surprised by how good the characters here were presented. The problem is that there are a lot of them - and by that I mean my problem. I'd be writing for days if I commented on each and every actor - so to save time let me put it like this. I'll only mention anyone who felt wrong or out of place. Awkward or cardboard. Queue the cricket sounds. That's right reader - not one mention. Everyone fit perfectly into Palmer's little world. A glorious well done to whoever cast this film! For a cast of this size... as I wrote above... I was pleasantly surprised and a little shocked. In the best ways.
When it's all said and done, as I'm sure you've guessed, this was a great film. Highly recommended. It may not be the most original idea put to screen - but basks in it's familiar scenarios, allowing it's audience to connect. It's the cliché nature that allows the comedy to work so well. It also allows the more serious tones to co-exist. I should also mention that more than a few times, I laughed out loud - and was reminded of feel good films from yester-year. Films such as the "Ernest" series comes to mind. To Linda Palmer, and all the cast and crew involved - pat yourselves on the back. For me, this was time well spent. A solid four stars.