Directed By: #LindaPalmer
Indie Film Review by: #ChrisBuick
“The most important part of making a good turnover, is the flakiness of the dough.”
Peter (Guilfoyle, CSI, LA Confidential) is the proud proprietor of a humble yet successful café. But while the establishment might be doing well, it is a demanding mistress and Peter also must contend with an ongoing messy divorce from his insufferable wife Fran (Kramer, Little Fockers), who is now engaged to another man. On top of all that, his doctors have told him that his heart could give out at any moment if he doesn’t get his stress under control.
Luckily, the one person he can count on is his loyal café manager right? Wrong. After feeling undervalued by Peter for what he sees as the millionth and last time, Henry (Lynch, Glee) hires the most eclectic group of rejects (as he calls them) to take over, thus setting the café on an almost certain course for failure. Peter must now open his heart and his mind to these colourful characters if he is to keep his head above water.
It must be said first and foremost, Turnover might have the most mouth-watering opening credits I’ve seen in a long time. But if you’re expecting the remainder of the two-hour runtime time to be full of gratuitous food-porn a la Chef, you’re wrong. What veteran filmmaker Linda Palmer serves up instead is something much sweeter.
To be honest, for a while, it was hard to warm to. The café newcomers appeared initially like mere stereotypes, Kramer’s Fran seemed much too cartoonish in her villainy, and the film had the feel of a silly caper, especially with its somewhat bouncy score. But just as sure as a good dough takes its time rising in the oven, by the end Turnover gets you, and you it.
The film simply has too much heart and soul for you not to like it. It becomes clear as the film goes on that there is a lot more here than just a silly indie drama about a café. There are layers and layers of social commentary at play, topics such as diversity, inclusion and prejudice are all tackled, while at the same time the film is pushing so many important lessons; age is just a number, no one is better off alone and never judge a book by its cover. It’s not subtle by any means, but it works and the way these themes are carried off shows great writing talent from both Parker and Griffith.
Some of the jokes do land awkwardly, and it does travel down some obvious routes for laughs. There are also moments where it doesn’t handle its social themes with total grace, seemingly enforcing a few stereotypes here and there rather than addressing them. But it is a film that always has the best intentions and when the film does take its more dramatic turns, it truly earns those heartfelt moments.
As with the film itself, those characters who seemed rather two-dimensional at introduction also find a way to your very soul by the end, which is probably due to the roles being occupied by such a capable ensemble cast. New chef Miguel (Carrasco) might be a personal standout as the tough ex-con with the biggest heart, followed extremely closely by Guilfoyle, who adds so much warmth and depth to long-suffering Peter and undergoes immense character development not once, but twice.
Turnover has its stumbles, but goddamn its heart-warming. Sure it has its fair share of cheesy moments, but it never indulges too much and when the result is this sweet, who cares?
Watch the trailer here: