Free Samples is everything you would have expected from an independent film in the 90s; it has over-written dialogue with amateur acting and limited locations. There are a few bright spots in the film, mostly coming from more experienced actors who briefly appear to show how the contrived dialogue can be convincingly spoken. Perhaps I am being too harsh, because aside from the plot, the dialogue, the main character and the leading actress, Free Samples isn’t a terrible film.
The glaring issue I had with this film was a completely unlikable protagonist. Jillian (Jess Weixler) is a law school dropout who moved to
to drink heavily every night and
sleep with random men in frequent succession. This is clearly due to an event
which will inevitably be revealed in contrived emotional monologue, but by the
time we find out it is too little and too late to make up for such an acidic
personality. She is not only a drunken mess, but also condescendingly talks
down to everybody she meets, which is not enjoyable in a film where that is
essentially all the plot has her doing. Los Angeles
As snarky and hypocritically judgmental as the dialogue for Jillian is, having Weixler in the role does not help. She scowls her way through so much of the film that when she does smile it doesn’t seem sincere. And her entire performance felt forced, so that even the act of having a cigarette was done in a manner that appeared very self-aware. It was very clear that she always knew where the camera was and was doing everything specifically for it, whether speaking lines to another character or simply faking a hangover alone. I didn’t enjoy this performance at all, from an actor’s perspective or as a lover of cinema. It reminded me of Clerks, which is another over-written near-singular location independent film with terrible acting from the lead. If only Free Samples were edgy and made twenty-years ago…
The DVD release has no special features.
Entertainment Value: 3/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 3/10
Historical Significance: 1/10
Disc Features: 0/10