Lunch Break (2005) – By Cary Conley

Lunch Break is a short (28 minutes) mock documentary that follows Tiffany, a lowly supermarket employee through her work day.  Tiffany, a working mother, a wife, and a college student, is already stretched thin by all the hats she juggles.  But if that isn’t enough, she is further stressed out by the fact that a group of managers from the main office has dropped by the store in which she works for a surprise inspection.  The source of this extra stress comes from her knowledge that these inspections usually result in mass layoffs of store employees and she’s sure she will be one of the unfortunates to get the axe.

As the camera crew follows Tiffany around the store, she vents her frustrations about her life, her family, her future, and her dreams.  We see her go through the motions of stocking shelves, returning merchandise, and other menial tasks, and we also see her get dressed down by her store manager.  Tiffany is frustrated at the path her life has taken, and even though she is attending school in hopes of obtaining more meaningful—and better-paying work—she also fears that she has found her niche in life, and it’s no paradise.  She is stressed, tired, and just plain fed-up.  And now her fears are increased as she is convinced that because of her latest disciplinary confrontation with her manager, she will end up on the next list of firings.

Are Tiffany’s feelings justified?  Are her fears of being fired real?  I won’t give away the ending to the film, but I will say that the ending is quite ironic given Tiffany’s feelings about her life and work.

Director John McKelvey has a crafted a thoughtful and funny film short about the working everyman—or woman in this case.  Made in 2005, the film nevertheless seems quite appropriate during this time of economic struggle for so many Americans as Tiffany bounces from worrying about losing her job to fantasizing about not having to work any more.  The star of the show, Tiffany Anne Carrin, does a terrific job with long sections of dialogue that were made even more difficult by the fact that the crew filmed in a real supermarket without permission.  So large sections of dialogue had to be done in a hit-and-run style, with actual customers and store employees walking by the camera.

This is a unique, enjoyable film that comments on the struggles of real-world, working class people.  If you have ever struggled with feelings of irrelevance in a meaningless, menial job as the character Tiffany does, you might find this film interesting.  If you would like to purchase a copy of the film, you can go to Tomorrow Wendy Productions by clicking www.tomorrowwendy.com.