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Clean Up on Aisle 9 [Derrick J. Johnson, USA, 2018]

Short film festivals are fantastic platforms for more alternative styles of film to see the light of day. The opportunity to see something that you won’t find your local Cineworld is part of what is so exciting about shorts. And every now and then it can be refreshing to find a film like Clean Up on Aisle 9. Drawing on the overflowing vat of American high school comedies (go Wildcats!), Derrick J. Johnson’s film is a worthy addition to the tradition that has no pretentions about its basest of base humour and revels in its glorious tackiness.

Oh! Brother.

Having just defeated the Wildcats in the football game of the year, Cody (Jesse Carver) is forced to pass up a crazy house party (and the cheerleaders awaiting him there) to take his little brother (Tyler Minevich) to the supermarket. Having already embarrassed himself with condoms and laxatives in front of the hottest girl in the school, things take a turn for the worse when an armed robber storms the shop.

This film would not be half as successful without Carver’s comic flair. His knack for elastic facial expressions and excellent timing showcases his huge potential and talent. Nonetheless, the real star of the show has to be Minevich as the irritating but adorable younger brother. His energy and zest gives him cracking screen presence, and the well-written role allows his skills to shine through. Good acting, however, is nothing without good writing. Thankfully, Johnson’s script is fun, fast and quick witted. The jokes are well placed and the final twist is brilliantly conceived.

Although some of the post-production work feels a little amateur - for example, the sound quality oscillates a fair bit - the film is solid enough to still be enjoyable. Moreover, these small flaws can easily be ironed out with more practice, whereas you either have talent or you don’t. From Clean Up on Aisle 9, it is clear that Johnson and his crew have bags of the stuff.


'Clean Up on Aisle 9' was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.


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