Employee of the Month
of the Month works against a huge deficit right away because
the essential comic premise is flawed. The idea that any woman, whether
gorgeous or fugly, would give a damn whether a prospective lover wins employee
of the month is preposterous. Even people dedicated to their jobs may care
about responsibility, but nobody would attach such value to a superficial
Employee of the Month Review
A comedy can be outrageous, and in most cases it
should be. But it should still feel reasonable, like a writer discovered
it from real observations, not like they just made it up. The most outrageous
comedies still have a premise that makes sense, it’s just not realistic.
Spoofs are different because they’re ripping on an existing formula.
Even then, you take an oddball premise and commit to it with total sincerity,
which isn’t what this movie does either.
Consider that pet detectives really exist, they just don’t solve crimes
like people detectives do. But then, people detectives don’t work
like movie detectives anyway. Going back to school is a real idea that people
would consider. Juxtapose a billionaire with poor coeds, or send the hero
all the way back and that’s comedy. Remaining celibate is rare but
someone might choose to do it. So then you just up the age and run wild.
Even fantasy comedy makes sense metaphysically. You’ve got a day repeating
itself and maybe there’s no explanation, but you can understand the
idea. Sleeping with the winner of a work contest, no character, not even
Homer Simpson, should hear that and think, “Hey, I know, I’ll
just do exactly what she’s interested in because then I’ll sleep
with her.” It should be a red flag that this is a made up character
with no basis in anything.
Think about all those ‘80s comedies. The babes never said, “I’m
going to go with whoever wins the contest at the end.” The point of
the ski race or the drunk Olympics may have been to beat the A-hole at his
own game, and that might have had the side effect of attracting the babe,
but it was never, “I will sleep with whoever wins this, because nothing
else matters to me.”
It would have been easy to fix too. Make it that he just needs money and
a car to impress the girl, show her he’s not a loser, so he sees the
contest as the easy way. Along the way he’ll learn that she still
would have loved him living with his grandma, but he’s learned a solid
work ethic. The way the set up just feels too easy for a movie.
Dane Cook plays the requisite slacker dude who’s
happy to just coast by messing with the kiss ups at Super Club. He suddenly
becomes a workaholic when he hears of this magical way to the new girl’s
heart. So ensues a contest with the store’s biggest star employee
for her affections.
Another problem with the film is that the main character hasn’t really
earned the right to be this slacker rebel. Why should this guy be important
to us? Because he writes “I like anal” on his rival’s
photo? He’s got no funny or clever observations on the world that
make him above any other loser.
The other actors don’t seem to be playing consistent characters. Some
are doing their personas like Harland Williams, some are doing oddball characters
like Andy Dick, some are doing stereotypes like the Indian guy, some are
doing broad caricatures like the overly committed boss who’s badly
ripping off The Office. Efran Ramirez is just blank. He’s
not doing anything, not his own personality, not his typecast, just nothing.
Only Dax Shepard seems to have created a real character. He’s got
enough quirks like his Cocktail-esque checking skills and his awkward,
uncomfortable attempts to say smooth things.
The world of the Super Club is inconsistent too. Is this a real life store
where crazy things happen? Obviously not because they sell things that don’t
actually get sold in bulk. But it’s not a heightened spoof of a warehouse
store either because they don’t really have fun with what makes those
stores tick. There’s a checkers’ lounge versus the boxers’
lounge, but no real class system. Just good guys and bad guys. Even Shakes
the Clown had degrees of clowns.
Once the competition gets under way, some of the contests are funny. Racing
to mop up a spill, dealing with a rowdy toddler, everything escalating to
mild outrageousness. It’s still mostly just people falling down though.
Other jokes just reek of late night Comedy Central movies. Squatting on
a tiny moped isn’t funny unless a broad physical comedian like Jim
Carrey or maybe a big oaf like Brad Garrett or Vince Vaughn is riding it.
Just some normal dude, eh. Glen Gary and Glen Ross? We get it. Talking about
a field mouse’s nuts sounds like outtakes from an open mic night.
The old lady talks dirty, and you know there’s more R-rated lines
for the DVD extended cut.
And I don’t want to hear that Employee of the Month
is hilarious if you’re stoned. There are plenty of comedies that work
both when you’re stoned and when you’re sober. Why would you
make a movie that needs additional enhancement? It’s like batteries