‘The Strip’ nothing great, but still engaging


At first, The Strip
appears to aim to do for strip malls what
Office Space did for office parks.

The setting, this time, is a low-rent electronics store, but
there’s a similar motley crew of barely employable underachievers, including
the rudderless son of the owner, an immigrant who spends most of his time
obsessing about an impending arranged marriage, a homeless slacker, a boorish
loudmouth and a blissfully oblivious manager who thinks team-building exercises
are the answer to the store’s dismal bottom line.

Unlike Office Space,
though, the more obvious comedic elements in
The Strip are forced and predictable. Where The
, the first feature project from
director/writer Jameel Khan, redeems itself is in the more bittersweet moments
that make the film more appealing than it otherwise might be.

Rodney Scott is Kyle, a clerk at the store who gets to move
up to manager when his dad (Chelcie Davis) who runs the place demotes
good-natured if clueless Glenn (Dave Foley). But Kyle doesn’t really want the promotion,
especially after meeting free-spirited Melissa (Jenny Wade) in a bookstore.

His co-workers are finding their lives changing, too. Avi
(Federico Dordei), who’s from Pakistan, is getting anxious as the day of his
wedding approaches. Carefree Jeff (Billy Aaron Brown), who finds himself
without a roof over his head, needs to get serious when he makes a romantic
blunder. And married Glenn has to decide what to do with his sudden onset
midlife crisis when an attractive new shop owner (Tenique Mathieu) moves into
the mini-mall.

There are no major surprises in The Strip — it’s never raucously hilarious, and it doesn’t
really have anything new to say about male bonding and growing up after
adulthood. Still, it sports a gentle amiability that’s engaging.

The Strip

3 stars (out of 5)

PG-13 (sexual references); 91 min.

Cary Darling writes for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Via McClatchy-Tribune News Service.