Rich is a young man down on his luck. Lonely, broke and depressed, he's kind of just stuck in life -- and on top of it all, his refrigerator breaks down.
Scrolling online, he manages to find a free fridge. But this is no ordinary fridge -- it has a knack for giving Rich almost exactly what he needs. With the help of his magical refrigerator, he finds a second shot at life.
Written and directed by Kevin Ung, this charming short comedy features no dialogue and it has a natural, even modest visual approach, perfect for capturing the milieu of a man stuck in both his apartment and life. But it pulls viewers along with great charm, thanks to its sparkling pacing and sense of whimsy.
Fans of both Charlie Kaufman's surreal take on ordinary struggles of life and Pixar's positivity and optimism will find a lot to like here, thanks to the juxtaposition of a run-down struggling existence and a quirky dose of magic in an unexpected place. The "magic" is handled not with special effects, but with simple but well-done storytelling and craft, especially with a charming, plaintive musical score and well-timed pacing.
Slowly, we see Rich's life improve, from the foods he eats to the often quirky objects he's given to accomplish his short-term immediate objectives. The magical fridge seems to know exactly what Rich needs, even before he does. Rich (played by actor Tony Suriano) slowly pulls himself out of a funk with the help of his unusual sidekick. He gets fit; he improves in his education; he meets a loving woman. But just as his life hits a high point, he soon realizes he must stand on his own -- without the aid of magic.
Endearing, warmhearted and sweet, "Refrigerate After Opening" is essentially a fairy tale narrative, where someone changes his fate with the intervention of a magical object that actually brings out the "magic" that's always been within the person. It's also a testament to the power of small steps and incremental changes to improve one's life. Rich doesn't need a fairy godmother-assisted makeover or wizard-like powers to change his life -- he just needs one small well-made choice after another. They add up: to better health, a more positive outlook and solid relationships. For most people, that's all the magic they need.