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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20.37%
Worth A Look: 20.37%
Average: 7.41%
Pretty Bad: 9.26%
Total Crap42.59%

2 reviews, 42 user ratings

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Employee of the Month (2005)
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by Scott Weinberg

"Nobody likes a cheater."
1 stars

If you cheat on your spouse, you're probably looking at one expensive divorce and five years worth of painful ulcers. If you cheat at a card game, you're probably going to be crawling home with a fat lip and three dislodged molars. If you cheat the people who paid to watch your movie, you're going to end up with a whole lot of pissed-off movie-watchers. And who wants to spend 95 minutes with a movie that pisses you off?

As Sundance time drew nearer, I circled my red pen around the title Employee of the Month; it had all the makings of something I'd truly enjoy: it looked to be a dark sort of comedy (something I nearly always appreciate), it seemed to boast an impressive mini-ensemble of performers that I admire (Matt Dillon, Steve Zahn, Christina Applegate), and generally Employee of the Month looked to be a silly and colorful comedy to enjoy in between all of the 'drier' Sundance offerings that are everywhere you look.

Dillon plays a likeable lug, a hard-working bank manager who has a lovely fiancee and a few nasty burn scars on his face. Applegate's his girl, Zahn's his ne'er-do-well pal. So over the course of one horrible day, Dillon gets fired, Applegate cuts him loose, and Zahn celebrates by drinking lots of alcohol and banging a sexy stripper-gal.

Simply put, Employee of the Month sets out to be a story of one schlub's misfortune and his rough road to salvation.

But if the pages from an entirely different screenplay somehow ended up in the script...the movie becomes something else entirely. It's a cheat and it's a poor one at best. Imagine watching a Civil War drama in which the characters wait until ten minutes before the end credits roll...and then they pull off each other's heads and start talking about how tough it is being Time-Traveling Alien Monsters.

Those who thought they were watching a Civil War drama (even a mediocre one at best) are apt to feel like they're being treated as, well, morons.

As the nonstop deluge of insipid plot contrivances unfold in this movie's third act, you'll be slapping your forehead at the randomness of it all...while you also think back to realize that the "normal story" of Acts I & II wasn't all that compelling in the first place. Perhaps a half-dozen "out of left field" plot twists could help to generate some excitement in other films, but such is obviously not the case here.

The three leads do what's asked of them, and each one has a few moments in which they trascend the mediocrity of the movie they're mired in, but Employee of the Month feels a whole lot like watching three hard-working actors who are feverishly trying to extricate one another from an entire planet made of quicksand. (If you give Steve Zahn 45 "vulgar and breathless" lines to exclaim, the laws of nature dictate that at least ten of them will be funny; this guy deserves better material, period.)

For its first sixty minutes, "Employee of the Month" is mildly watchable in that undemanding sort of "cable-flick" way; but when the movie starts relying on "false flashbacks" and scene after scene of pointless contortionism, odds are you'll be bored to tears and perhaps even a little bit insulted.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 01/27/04 09:19:43
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

1/06/13 odin child boring with a vulgar ending 2 stars
12/25/09 bafferfly i liked it. to heck with the critics. 4 stars
1/10/09 roger awful, tastless, 1 stars
10/03/08 SB Horrible! 1 stars
9/25/08 j pop i thought zahn was great, and the kids in the hall guy was hilarious. a little gem! 4 stars
1/10/08 Indrid Cold Hard to say if a good ending would have made it truly great, but still not bad at all. 3 stars
5/02/07 Tracey Chambers love movies like this 4 stars
4/17/07 Scott Very entertaining, shocking ending, Dillon shows off his acting in one soliloquy 4 stars
2/18/07 PrinceofMars Not so bad I think I could watch again. Feel sorry about crashed girls. 4 stars
1/24/07 rea I missed the time-travelling alien monsters... 1 stars
1/07/07 mamdouh great fun! forget the silly remarks of these pretentious 'experts". 5 stars
12/07/06 Evie I really liked it. L thought the twists were real cool. 5 stars
12/03/06 Reigels Really liked it, but reviewers will ruin it for you if they can. 5 stars
12/01/06 Liv I really liked it, the ending really took me by surprise. I really enjoyed it! 4 stars
10/16/06 zaw Too much twist at the end that the movie broke and make it suck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 3 stars
9/26/06 Clarence Turn it off at the 90 minute mark and you'll have yourself a solid little black comedy. 4 stars
6/22/06 Phil M. Aficionado It's bizarre, sloppy, contrived, and shockingly in your face. But a little bit fun, too 2 stars
2/28/06 Martin Come on baby, let's do the twist 3 stars
1/13/06 Mark David Very funny, some classic one liners, enjoyable - far fatched ending but so what! 5 stars
8/26/05 Peter Pavlov fuck 5 stars
7/18/05 Joe Open up your mind and enjoy the movie instead of being a critical little dweeb. 5 stars
7/07/05 Marguerite Ponder Some great lines, dark humor and tongue in cheek satire. Much better film than this review 4 stars
7/03/05 Gsrb Don't bother 1 stars
6/20/05 brit One of the best movies of it's time ... yet way ahead of it. 5 stars
4/24/05 Geraldine Awful 1 stars
4/23/05 Mindless Dweeb Uh, I kin of liked it. Guess I ain't good'nuff to be here. 4 stars
4/17/05 christi sucked 1 stars
2/24/05 ladybug worst movie ever 1 stars
2/02/05 Paul Fucked up ending 2 stars
1/16/05 Drew Lesperance Awful 1 stars
1/10/05 Corky exasperating shifts in tone and plot contrivances sink this one. 2 stars
1/08/05 uncmick Very entertaining. Many people won't 'get it' however. 4 stars
1/05/05 pete ostling One of the funniest movies I've seen...meminds me of "Brazil" 5 stars
12/29/04 ryan Complete rubbish. I like Matt Dillon but even he can't save this garbage. 1 stars
12/04/04 Anthony Oneill Tries to be clever, and even sunderland can do better than this! 1 stars
8/21/04 McGraw Nope! 1 stars
2/10/04 chelsea not such a bad movie, some funny bits 4 stars
1/29/04 Dana P. I saw this film at sundance and rellay enjoyed it. Kept me guessing. 5 stars
1/28/04 ender who're the schlubs getting paid to hawk this here? it sucks 2 stars
1/24/04 Melissa Bourne I loved it...original and the ending was a real twist...i did not see it coming...great! 5 stars
1/24/04 Matt Wilson I loved every minute. Bold dark comedy solid performances and a twist like nothin Ive seen 5 stars
1/23/04 sandy offensive, unlikeable characters, good acting, music, camera work, story line, shocker end 3 stars
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  04-Jan-2005 (R)
  DVD: 04-Jan-2005



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