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Shelf Life
Shelf Life
Actor: John Smith
Director: Tamar Halpern
Genres: Drama
PG-13     2006     1hr 33min

Best Feature - DancesWithFilms Film Festival In this dark comedy of petty office politics in a library, it's the head librarian versus the fresh-out-of-rehab book shelver in an all-out, deadly war of the wills. This ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: John Smith
Director: Tamar Halpern
Genres: Drama
Sub-Genres: Drama
Studio: Cinequest
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 12/05/2006
Release Year: 2006
Run Time: 1hr 33min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Justin B. from WHITMORE LAKE, MI
Reviewed on 6/3/2010...
this isn't really the paul bartel film. Paul Bartel's Shelf Life is an unreleased film. Back in the 90's that was a VHS boot released, but that's impossible to track down.

Movie Reviews

Feuding librarians
Lleu Christopher | Hudson Valley, NY | 01/28/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Shelf Life is one of those quirky, low budget independent films that succeeds some of the time. It's a comedy that ranges from silly to dark and there are some genuinely funny moments, though some of it is a bit like a sitcom. It involves a war of wills between uptight head librarian Betty (Elisa Bocanegra) and the rebellious new book shelver, Nikki (Betsy Brandt). Betty is a control freak who notices when one paper clip is missing, while Nikki dresses like a rocker and is fresh out of a drug rehab program. Joe Smith co-stars as the ultra-nerdy library assistant.

The plot is basically a series of mishaps between the two conflicting personalities. It is told in flashbacks, as the two recount their versions of events to an unseen mediator. This is a lightweight, not very deep movie whose characters are fairly simplistic, but I still enjoyed it. I prefer the rough edges of this kind of film to the more polished but thoroughly predictable typical mainstream movie. Though apparently filmed in the Los Angeles area, the feeling is more like a small town library. Shelf Life combines a kind of 1950s Main Street atmosphere with an underlying spirit of rebellion. The elements do not always gel perfectly, but the result is still interesting and mostly entertaining.

The listing for this film has the date 1992, while the information I looked up says it was released on DVD in 2006 and won some awards at Sundance in 2005, so I'm not sure if that earlier date is an error or in reference to a prior release. I'd recommend Shelf Life to fans of offbeat comedies."