If it weren’t so horrifying, it’d be funny. Okay, it’s still funny, but the subject matter at play in “Shelf Life” — and all the shorts in the Women in Film–funded series, Flip the Script — is so real (each episode even spells out, “This really happened, only the genders have been switched”) it leaves a strong aftertaste of … troubling. Hey, that’s the point.
Written by Ally Iseman and directed by Joey Ally, Deena Adar, and Kai Collins, the series explores the effects of patriarchy in the film industry by, you guessed it, flipping the script to see what it would be like if women were the ones who:
Each of the four installments is deft in its comedy and nimble in its commentary, thanks to what feels like highly personal filmmaking and a slew of top-shelf cameos including Lake Bell, Rob Huebel, Amy Landecker, Jeff Garlin, and Michaela Watkins. Even still, “Shelf Life” may be my favorite. Maybe because at its core, it feels like the most ridiculous, the most overtly inexcusable, the most simian. Or perhaps it’s something else entirely. Maybe I’m not responding to the absurdity, but to the razor-sharp realism and the fact that the conversation had in that pitch room hasn’t just happened once in Hollywood, but many, many times in what I imagine to be every corner of the globe.
Funny? In this case.
Horrifying? In all cases.