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Overall Rating

Awesome: 2.56%
Worth A Look: 7.69%
Average: 15.38%
Pretty Bad41.03%
Total Crap: 33.33%

3 reviews, 21 user ratings

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Employee of the Month (2006)
[] Buy posters from this movie
by William Goss

"Shift Happens"
2 stars

Eagle-eyed viewers are likely to spot equally generic comedies packaged by the dozen in the very aisles of SuperClub, an amalgam of Sam’s Club and Costco in which 'Employee of the Month' takes place. Buying in bulk may be a God-given right, but laughs must have been all but out of stock.

Zack (a relatively restrained Dane Cook) literally skates through his job as box boy at the above-mentioned wholesale store until the arrival of cashier Amy (Jessica Simpson) motivates the slacker to take on hotshot head cashier Vince (Dax Shepard) for the predominant honor. Naturally, the main motivation for both contenders is that Amy is known to sleep with Employees of the Month, a fact conveniently explained in her personnel file.

Yes, it’s that type of comedy, where such dating habits are handily described in personnel files; where the yuppie antagonist – Employee of the Month for seventeen consecutive months and in the running for a “newish” Chevy Malibu should he break the regional record – has female customers ga-ga over his speedy checkout skills and keeps company with a slavishly loyal Hispanic sidekick (Efren Ramirez, practically reprising his Crank and Napoleon Dynamite roles); where the hero slacker is flanked by his own pair of devoted dolts (Andy Dick and Harland Williams), a foul-mouthed granny, a parent of Middle Eastern heritage who simply cannot afford to lose his job, and a slow fat black security guard who particularly stomps all over the line between conventional cliché and shameless stereotype; where some of the bickering has bite, but most gags are tailored to a middle-school mentality that never tires of broad slapstick and generally petty behavior.

At the very least, Greg Coolidge doesn’t mistake his directorial debut for a snarky satire on working in retail or American consumerism, especially when so many other films have that territory covered. He stages a mild hierarchy between the workers and finds plenty of excuses to set up somewhat elaborate and exceedingly silly competitions between Zack and Vince, even including a third-act baseball game, to distract viewers from the mounting inanity of the scenario. Cook can’t help but come across as a second-rate Ryan Reynolds at every turn, smarmy yet charmless and lacking in all the manic energy that his stand-up work is known for. Here, he proves that he can be just another lackluster lead, not romantic enough to work and not much better in the comedic end of things. Shepard manages to be every bit as obnoxious and inept as his character aims to be, not the biggest of challenges to meet.

The majority of chuckles end up coming from either Dick, who naturally vanishes when it seems that he might steal the show, or Tim Bagley, playing moderately ignorant manager Glen Gary. Sure enough, just as his eager beaver seems to gain a foothold on the proceedings, along comes Glen Ross (Danny Woodburn), his dominating big brother who turns out to be of diminutive stature. Not only does the Mamet reference go nowhere, but also the film’s sense of humor further suggests the notion in recent comedies that the appearance of little people is a laugh in itself, an attitude that seems more derogatory than constructive.

That, of course, leaves us with Simpson and the lame love triangle she creates. Most of the budget was surely allocated to painstakingly removing her puppet strings, as her ‘performance’ manages here to be abnormally vapid, a presence that distracts in its ineptitude, even as the camera lingers upon her more prominent physical attributes more often than not. One could argue that both of the movie’s two strongest merits happen to be attached to its single largest deficit, but in terms of sheer eye candy and shameless objectification, we were better off when she was in her Daisy Dukes. The central rivalry is relatively flimsy already, without the help of a romance between a bland protagonist and a black hole to mar matters. Had producers applied enough pressure to cut corners, it likely would have improved the film by sparing us Simpson and her altogether superfluous subplot/existence, thus lessening the length and amplifying what sparse laughs that Coolidge and two other writers collectively scrounged up. Now that would deserve a gold star.

After recently establishing themselves as the go-to guys for horror, Lionsgate has found a minor niche in between slaughter sessions this year by producing cheap comedies that tout flavor-of-the-month stand-up comedians and will inevitably make a buck if only thanks to the passing rentals of a fleeting fan base (a trend instigated by last March’s torturous 'Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector' and to be continued by its threatened follow-up, 'Delta Farce,' in a strategy to not only make money, but simultaneously accelerate the decline of Western civilization). While 'Employee' is nowhere near as downright inhumane as its corporate cousin, it manages to be just as derivative as undoubtedly intended and is, aptly enough, good for maybe ten chuckles or less.

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originally posted: 10/10/06 20:00:36
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User Comments

8/16/12 Monday Morning Great if you're in the right mood. I was. 4 stars
8/13/09 Dan Kelly It's nothing special but I did laugh on a few occasions 3 stars
1/10/09 Anonymous. we all know the only reason jessica simpson was cast in this. 2 stars
8/11/08 Jon G 4 thumbs down 2 stars
8/30/07 suckered I got this off Bittorrent and I want my download time back. 1 stars
5/15/07 David Pollastrini Jessica Simpson looks hot in this! 2 stars
2/18/07 Carol Ezovski This movie won't win an Oscar, but it was better than many of it's genre! 3 stars
1/11/07 roza in duke of hazzards i thrt she was pretty gud and who cares if shes a bad actress shes hot! 3 stars
11/03/06 k.a.h movie was as expected, funny and entertaining. Not award winning, but decent. 3 stars
11/02/06 KAREN MATLOCK What did you expect from Jessica Simpson? Stop encouraging her. 1 stars
10/28/06 DIANA not worth renting... wait for tv 2 stars
10/24/06 Juan Awesome movie. Softball was necessary to add to the stupid/funny factor. 5 stars
10/17/06 Tiffany funny 4 stars
10/14/06 Eric Definitely not smart by any stretch, but it made me laugh. Great supporting cast also. 4 stars
10/11/06 marcello7013 ottimo 3 stars
10/11/06 bianca smith jessica simpson /dane cook worst actors nominees 1 stars
10/10/06 Lauren Jessica Simpson is not a good actress at all 1 stars
10/10/06 Sarah This movie was just awful. Dane Cook's star is going to burn out 1 stars
10/09/06 Dan Surprisingly funny for a terribly acted movie that takes its lame plot too seriously. 3 stars
10/07/06 Pritchett After this and his lame recent HBO concert, Cook's career runs straight into a brick wall. 1 stars
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  06-Oct-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 16-Jan-2007



Directed by
  Greg Coolidge

Written by
  Greg Coolidge

  Dane Cook
  Jessica Simpson
  Dax Shepard
  Efren Ramirez
  Harland Williams
  Andy Dick

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