Aspiring artist Ben Willis develops insomnia after a painful breakup with his girlfriend, Suzy. To take his mind off Suzy and to occupy the extra waking hours he has recently gained, Ben begins working at a local Sainsbury’s supermarket, where he meets colourful co-workers. Among them is his colleague Sharon, with whom he soon develops a mutual crush. As his personal means to escape the boredom inherent in the night shift, Ben lets his imagination run wild. In particular, he imagines that he can stop time so that he can walk around in a world that is “frozen” like the pause of a film. He imagines female patrons of the supermarket stopped in time, allowing him to undress and draw them. Finally the ability to stop time becomes real.
A series of flashbacks occur with each progression of the plot, accompanied by Ben’s narration and an examination of the effect the situation had had upon him. He explains how he always has been impressed by the beauty of the female body: how he, as a young boy, witnessed a Swedish boarder walk naked from the shower to her room. In another flashback, the young Ben and his best friend Sean share Sean’s discovery of his parents’ adult magazines, and Sean pays a neighbourhood girl called Natalie fifty pence to show him her vulva. Other neighbourhood boys repeat this trade.
Ben’s boss, Alan Jenkins, recruits the staff for a weekend football game and, after an embarrassing defeat, 26-Nil, Ben freezes time again. This time he discovers that he is not alone when he sees a mysterious stranger who is able to move inside the frozen world as he can. When Jenkins throws a party to honour his own birthday and as a consolation for their defeat, Sharon asks Ben to be her date, to which he eagerly but nervously agrees. While there, Ben encounters Natalie, who is now a stripper, as well as his ex-girlfriend Suzy, who implores him to try their relationship again. Ben refuses her advance but she kisses him, just as Sharon witnesses from afar. Sharon angrily leaves the party. Ben realizes Sharon has seen the kiss, and freezes time. After spending several days “frozen”, Ben concludes that although he can stop time, he cannot reverse it to correct the mistake. He eventually seeks to explain himself to Sharon at her apartment, and a confrontation similar to the film-opening breakup occurs. Sharon henceforth does not show up to work at the supermarket.,