Ready, Set, Bag! Movie Review: Are You Packing?

We all have a competitive streak in us. Some take it out through traditional methods like baseball or football; others through dodgeball, sumo wrestling or mixed martial arts. And some pack grocery bags.

If you’re unaware of the competitive sport of grocery bag packing, then you must have been living in a cave for your entire life. I take that back. Even Osama bin Laden follows grocery bag packing. In the new documentary Ready, Set, Bag! (also known as Paper or Plastic?), filmmakers Alex D. da Silva and Justine Jacob explore the exciting world of such a sport, where the low rungs on the grocery store totem pole compete to prove that they are the best bag packers in the world. The movie follows several state champions and their journey to the National Grocers Association’s Best Bagger competition.

Ready, Set Bag! is a fun little documentary that highlights something that has otherwise never been highlighted before, at least on a national scale. If the concept of a grocery bagging competition sounds absurd to you, that’s because it is. But it’s all in good fun, and the movie features some likable characters that appear to be having a blast.

At 90 minutes, Ready, Set, Bag! moves at a fast pace. The directors keep things light and whimsical, and it works as a result.

On the flip side, the movie does bear resemblance to other documentaries focused on goofy competitions such as The King of Kong, but isn’t nearly as memorable. This is simply a symptom of the “sport,” but the characters are not nearly colorful enough to make a huge impact on the audience. There are some quirky people in the bunch, but either they aren’t quirky enough or the filmmakers were hesitant to take advantage of these young people’s eccentricities. Regardless, the movie is fun but not particularly impactful.

Ready, Set, Bag! is a decent little documentary that focuses on one of America’s many goofy subcultures. It isn’t anything special, but is a worthwhile picture. The movie debuts in Seattle on August 6 and will slowly be released in select cities throughout the country.

By Erik Samdahl
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