This Time it's Shopping

Rated: Not Rated

        There are very few films out there that I don’t mind watching over and over. Some of them are relatively sad, some are serious, and some are downright comical. A few of my favorites include The Fall, What Dreams May Come, The Godfather films and Super Troopers. It may not seem at first glance that any of these films have anything in common, but they do. They all continue to illicit an emotional response from me, despite the fact that the element of surprise is long past. The films I’ve mentioned may not be your favorites, but if you think deeply about why your favorites are your favorites, I think you’ll find that the condition is the same. No matter how many times we watch these films, they continue to make us laugh, or cry, or gasp.
        Another film I’ll be adding to that list of favorites is the recent short film by Jim Picariello and Chek Wingo,
This Time it’s Shopping. I caught the film at the Live Free or Die Film Festival in August (2016), and have watched it several times since. I had the opportunity to speak with Jim about it, and I asked him how he came up with the idea. He said, “When my daughters were very young, I would play “store” with them, and it always amused me how they thought adults acted in real life. According to them, adults got super dressed up, walked around like they were all fancy, and then asked if we happened to have, (in the store), what was always in a neat pile over on the couch. I wondered what that would look like in real life, if adults acted this way.”
        As you’d imagine, it turns out that if adults acted this way the results would be side-splittingly funny! I certainly don’t want to give too much of the film away, especially since its only 4 minutes and 11 seconds long, but picture this: You’re a shopkeeper at Three Wishes in Blue Hill Maine. A woman dressed in a frilly evening gown walks in and begins trying things on and tasting things she shouldn’t. She walks to the counter and asks for three VERY specific items, after which you reach down below the counter, and place the three neatly stacked items on the counter. Pure silliness ensues from there.
Jen Shepard in This Time it's Shopping (Photo courtesy of Jim Picariello)

Jen Shepard in This Time it's Shopping (Photo courtesy of Jim Picariello)

         I asked Jim how he decided what to dress Jen Shepard in, and if he’d told her what to pick up while in the store. He said, “[The dress] actually [belonged to] one of my daughters, who used it for dress up. It barely fit Jen, so we had to tape it to itself, on the back. I looked for other dresses, but the one we used was just wrong for all the right reasons. [Then], for the introduction, we just told Jen to act like a kid, pretending to be an adult, looking at everything and trying everything on. She runs Improv Acadia in Bar Harbor Maine, a fantastic improv troupe, and we just wound her up and let her go. Jen made me laugh [so much] as we tried to do our lines. She is impossibly funny!”
        The key to this little film lies in the ways the actors performed their roles. Despite the nonsense of the entire situation, Jim Picariello delivers each line with all of the seriousness of the most intense Shakespearean drama, while Jen delivers hers in the most over exaggerated and matter-of-fact way. Jim’s annoyance and Jen’s over enthusiasm ultimately lead to the most splendid of endings!
        In a time when it seems like with every passing week the announcement of a “new” remake, sequel or reboot is inevitable, it is truly refreshing to see a film, be it short or feature length, that delivers a pure sense of wonderment and surprise.
This Time it’s Shopping is just such a film. As the film rolls on you may think you know where it’s headed, but trust me, you don’t; and that’s part of what makes it so gratifying and scrumptious. Perhaps asking people to revert back to some childhood mindsets isn’t the best thing, but reminding people that we were all children once is priceless!

This Time it’s Shopping was written and produced by Jim Picariello, was directed and edited by Check Wingo and stars Jen Shepard and Jim Picariello. It has been entered in 82 film festivals thus far, and has taken home the Special Jury Selection for Shorts at the Providence Children’s Film Festival, and also Best Short for the Money at the Live Free or Die Film Festival. It will be able to be seen in the Online Film Festival from Sept 1st to October 15th (2016). More information about the film, Jim, Jen and Chek can be found here:

  • This Time it's Shopping on IMDB
  • Check Wingo on IMDB