Employee of the Month (2006) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, and language
Running Time: 103 min.
Cast: Dane Cook, Dax Shepard, Jessica SImpson, Efren Ramirez, Andy Dick, Tim Bagley, Brian George, Marcello Thedford, Danny Woodburn, Harland Williams
Director: Greg Coolidge
Screenplay: Don Calame, Chris Conroy, Greg Coolidge
Review published October 15, 2006
If you've ever been to a Costco store, you'll recognize the layout of Super Club, the fictional chain of warehouse stores that sell cheaper than your local market through bulk sales and membership fees. Just as they make shopping there seem like a privilege to their customers, so too do they with their very own employees, with lounges that only certain workers can go in, hierarchical tiers of advancement, and gift incentive, such as the new(-ish) car they are giving away to the employee of the month.
Vince Downey (Shepard, Zathura) is the star cashier of the store and always the winner every month, and many customers shop there just to see him do his thing at the checkout counter. He gets no love from the slackers in the store, most notably Zack (Cook, Waiting...), the aimless box boy who loves to get Vince's goat, spending more time disrespecting Vince than actually working. Zack's attitude changes when Super Club hires a new employee, Amy (Simpson, The Dukes of Hazzard), who is not only the hottest woman in the store, but is also rumored to always want to have an affair with whomever wins the Employee of the Month award. Zack, not wanting to see Vince steal away another girl he is interested in, decides to change his ways, and soon, the competition is on to see who gets the award, the car, and the girl.
Employee of the Month falls into the category of a "time killer" comedy, whereby the typical person intending to view it does so only intending to be amused and mildly engaged for over 90 minutes, but doesn't really want to invest too much mental energy in thinking too hard about it. It's the kind of movie I wouldn't mind renting and watching with a group of friends, or perhaps catching late night on cable when I can't sleep, but it's so shallow and instantly forgettable, it's far from worth paying money for tickets, gas, and parking to see at a theater.
As mentioned previously, you don't want to think too hard while watching it if you're planning on enjoying it for the mildly amusing comedy that it is, or you will likely be frustrated. Not much thought went into this movie, as the entire premise of it makes little sense. What can you say about a company that has only one employee that even bothers trying to get employee of the month for seventeen consecutive months? What can you say about the company that monitors every single employee like a hawk but can't figure out that half the staff do absolutely nothing all day? Why do customers seem to like when their items are juggled, flung and slam-dunked into their cart in acrobatic fashion? How does such a large and popular store with literally millions of dollars worth of merchandise not have any security during closing hours? How does the fact that a woman will sleep with anyone who wins the Employee of the Month ever make it into their permanent employee profile, considering it would probably be grounds for a lawsuit if discovered? Considering the month in question is November, and the local Costco has Christmas displays as early as late August, why is the store devoid of any holiday items? How is it that every single employee in the company works every single day of the month -- don't they get a day or two off every week (especially during the Thanksgiving period)? Why in the world is the annual baseball game held at the end of November, presumably one of the coldest weather days of the entire year?
You can probably tell by the above questions that I committed the sin I warned about by thinking too much while viewing Employee of the Month, and came away not really enjoying it. In my defense, had the film been funnier and more engaging, I probably wouldn't have had the idle time thinking about the strange inconsistencies and weird logic involved in nearly every facet of the plot of the film. It seems to me that in less than two hours, I probably gave more thought to the story than the three screenwriters ever bothered to do during the many months of the film's production. I think it's safe to say that these thoughts probably occurred to them as well, except that they felt a bit contemptuous toward the film's target audience to bother trying. Anyone coming into Employee of the Month is looking for a dumb comedy anyway, so why play anything above a dumb level, right?
In the hierarchy of films released into theaters, Employee of the Month is the "box boy" of entertainment. It's an entry-level endeavor that no one expects much out of, doesn't have any aspirations to be anything more than it is, and no one remembers once their entertainment experience is over. They say in writing that you should write about what you know, but I think one of the exceptions is writing if all you know is how to be lazy. Why do most of the films about slackers have to be made by such slackers?
©2006 Vince Leo