“Ten Inch Hero” is a (kind of weak) play on words, since they work in a sandwich shop (the ‘hero’ part), and there’s a LOT of discussion of sex, including multiple scenes in a row where they talk a lot about penis size, whether size matters, yada yada.
It’s that kind of movie--an indie that seems to think it’s being edgy and hip with a lot of dirty/frank talk about sex and relationships but that doesn’t actually break any new ground (except the scene where two of the girls help/listen to the third masturbate, which just ends up being kind of awkward), largely perhaps due to the pervasively sweet, feel-good direction. It’s the kind of movie you can quote as you go, because a lot of what happens is pretty cliched (although the characters are fairly original, and the script has some great moments).
All that said/if you can get past that, it’s eminently watchable and pretty enjoyable.
Piper has moved to Santa Cruz believing that the daughter she gave up for adoption when she was 15 lives there. Needing a job, she applies at the sandwich shop where the requisite gang of quirky characters have created a makeshift family. (I love this shit, hence my enjoyment of the film, because that’s really what it’s all about.) Trucker, the old hippie who runs the place, is infatuated with the lady who has a new agey shop across the way. She is actually psychic and has a deep wisdom and knowing about everyone she meets. Now, I worked for a psychic who knew a million other psychics and new age types, and I can tell you from knowing these people, her character is UTTERLY UNREALISTIC, but I love a good no-holds-barred romantic portrayal of a certain type of person, so though it was SO cheesy, it was very charming, and really works for the film.
Jen’s most important relationship is with someone she’s never met whom she spills everything to online. Tish (Danneel’s character) is an unrepentant maneater, whom Priestly (Jensen’s character) pines for, but she never shows any interest in him, he believes because he dresses what I guess the movie considers “punk” and is a “freak.” I was a punk, I hung with the punks, and I don’t know what’s going on with his wardrobe, which is ... ‘creative’ to say the least, but definitely not punk, or even something I’ve ever seen a real human being wear. (Except maybe the kilt-with-combat boots getup, which also looked deliciously hot.) But chalk it up to the joys of Hollywood attempting to realistically portray a type and getting it hilariously wrong.
a small example for you ....
More to the point, a major theme of the movie is looking past appearances, which is a bit obnoxious considering that the three main girls are played by hot, hotter, and ridiculously hot, and the “freak” “no one looks twice at” is played by Jensen. (Who, kind of depressingly, has to dress like a normal to get Tish to take notice.)
But anyway ... the movie sets up these characters and then follows them through their personal stories in a way that’s very heartwarming and satisfying for everyone. Though there are a lot of cliches, there are some great, unexpected lines, and the character ideas are fairly original, especially Tish, who’s not treated as bad or evil by the script because she’s a manipulative slut, and she doesn’t get catty with other girls; the movie makes a lot of (usually successful) attempts to be feminist and have very modern attitudes about gender-related perceptions.
I’ve never seen Danneel in anything before this, so I didn’t know what to expect. She and Jensen really have a lot of chemistry! (Take off your tin hat for that one.) You’ll recognize most of the actors--John Doe (Trucker) and Clea DuVall (Jen) have been in a ton of stuff--and all the main players in the sandwich-shop family do a great job. Jensen is typically great. But honestly, I was most impressed by Danneel, who was tasked with playing a character not a lot of people would be able to play so thoroughly and believably; plus, you could tell she added a bunch of her own flair and ideas to it. Also, she has a fucking perfect body, which we know because she gets 100% completely naked during a sex scene and you see everything. So, if you have some hankering to know what Jensen’s looking at in bed--AND I KNOW SOME OF YOU DO--this is an ideal source.
As for Jensen, there’s a lot of Dean in his character here, and a lot that’s unique to this character, which is adorable and always fun whenever he’s onscreen. He’s kind of too big for a movie and a role this small; I don’t think it’s just because I’m a SPN fan that my eyes went to him even when he was in the background with his back to the camera. The man has PRESENCE. (And he finally gets to look as tall as he is! He looms over everyone else.) He has a lot of cringey lines (he makes a big speech while buying tampons, for instance), but delivers them with characteristic aplomb, and his character is sweet and adorable.
There are some weird moments in the film, including some of Priestly’s odder lines (his declaring something “gay” really dates the film and falls flat in light of modern-day values); an unexpectedly disturbing, violent turn late in the film (it’s not bad, but it is out of place, and very ... shall we say ... testosterone-filled and NOT girl-power; also Priestly instantly gets his ass TOTALLY kicked, which is a real change from watching Dean all this time
); some deliberately skeezy characters and some characters that aren’t meant to be skeezy but nonetheless are (like Piper’s decades-older, unintentionally creepy-acting love interest).
All in all, this movie is probably not going to change your life. But it’s a fine way to spend a couple of hours, especially if ya like looking at Jensen.