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New Release Review - CONVENIENCE

A pair of bungling criminals are forced to man a convenience store while they wait for the safe to open.


Review by Ren Zelen (@renzelen)

Directed by: Keri Collins

Starring: Ray Panthaki, Vicky McClure, Adeel Akhtar, Anthony Head, Tony Way, Verne Troyer




"What the movie may lack in a Hollywood budget it makes up for by being skilfully written and well-constructed, with many laugh out loud moments. This movie is a little gem, if it doesn’t become a cult comedy favourite it will have been robbed!"




It has been a long while since I saw a contemporary comedy that actually made me laugh out loud. I have virtually given up on any mainstream Hollywood comedy movie managing to raise my spirits, let alone a chuckle. Most of them are boorish, predictably scripted and stuck in a rut (although American Television comedy is altogether a different thing).
Imagine my delight then, when an unassuming British indie production managed to make me chuckle, snort and laugh – and more than once! Rarely has a recent film been as gleefully silly and totally enjoyable as Convenience.
Convenience tells the story of two friends, A.J. (Ray Panthaki) and Shaan (Adeel Akhtar) as they find themselves in trouble with some Russian gangsters. The less than intellectually gifted Shaan has inadvertently been lured into running up a debt of over £8,000 at a strip club and has attempted to hide out at his friend A.J’s  flat. Not a great idea, and A.J is less than pleased when he finds that he’s been dragged into the mess. The Russians give them 24 hours to come up with the money...or else…
Meanwhile, in a petrol station convenience store, bored Levi (Vicky McClure) grumbles at her rigid yet gutless boss and grudgingly settles in for the night shift. As she’s clearing up a mess at the back of the store, A.J and Shaan blunder in to rob the place - their desperate plan to pay off the debt. Unfortunately for the duo, the real money is shut in a time-locked safe; their only option is to commandeer the store under the guise of trainee shop assistants and wait it out till 6am when the time lock opens.
They take the manager and lone customer as hostages, but things go from bad to worse as the two men find that stroppy shop assistant Levi is no pushover. As the night unfolds we’re treated to a series of funny skits and a stream of strange and eccentric customers, punctuated with some poignant moments and gratifying character development.
At the core of Convenience is a genuinely funny script by Simon Fantauzzo, energetically directed by Keri Collins and brought to life by endearingly batty and adept performances. It’s good to see a straight up silly comedy with Asian actors at the helm, supported by some new British talent and interspersed with charming and ingenious cameos roles from familiar faces such as Anthony Head and Verne Troyer.
What the movie may lack in a Hollywood budget it makes up for by being skilfully written and well-constructed, with many laugh out loud moments. It’s confidently shot, consistently well-paced and complemented by a simple premise with inventive and well executed skits that keep you engaged, amused, and even occasionally moved or surprised.
It doesn’t say anything overly profound; it doesn’t aesthetically revolutionise the cinematic process, but with its twists, inventive gags, energetic mugging and relentless one-liners this film packs in a lot - comedy, action, violence, family conflicts and even a little romance - with real indie spirit.
This movie is a little gem, if it doesn’t become a cult comedy favourite it will have been robbed! Now, that would be a crime…



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