Not the Ticket
Simple question, do think mainstream romantic comedies are good or are they superficial, all very similar and stupid? If you think they are "good" then the chances are you should not watch "Expired" as it is an off-beat romantic comedy which is often off-the-beat as well. It makes it extremely hard going for those accustomed to the usual rhythms and jokes of mainstream romantic comedies but most likely a delight for those who find mainstream monotonous. Whilst I like to watch all sorts of movies I have to say that "Expired" was hard going, I don't mind off-beat, I don't mind quirky but I just can't do off-the-beat, movies which struggle to create flow.
Claire (Samantha Morton - Lassie) is a lovely, kind and considerate young woman although she is also hated because she is a traffic warden and that makes her very unpopular. It is whilst on the job she meets Jay (Jason Patric - Speed 2: Cruise Control), her complete opposite as he gets off on dishing out parking tickets and that is not the only thing he gets off to as he regularly watches internet porn. What they have in common is that they are both lonely in their own ways and the question is can there ever be anything really between them when no matter how nice Claire is Jay manages to be incredibly rude back.
I am going to keep this simple because the storyline to "Expired" would have worked as a mainstream comedy with the unlikely romance between an overly nice traffic warden and an obnoxious one. But instead of being mainstream it is extremely off beat, Claire is extremely nice whilst Jay is extremely obnoxious and all their friends are extreme in their own ways such as Claire's mum being unable to speak and wheelchair bound after a stroke. This leads to the jokes really coming from the extreme differences, Jay's over the top rudeness and anger issues whilst Claire's over the top chirpy nature. There are other gags, someone dies face down in a bowl of mashed potato but the majority of the humour is meant to be how rude can Jay be to Claire.
Now I don't mind that so much because Samantha Morton and Jason Patric do a good job of playing their characters and making much of the awkwardness work. But what killed it for me is that the movie struggled to find any form of flow, constantly delivering a scene which just seems to be coming together before shuddering to a halt. It is this lack of flow which makes it hard going and at times monotonous.
What this all boils down to is that "Expired" ended up extremely hard work for the simple reason it appears to go out of its way to be jarring. Everything about the movie from the awkward comedy to the extreme characters sort of worked but without any flow it struggled.