Employee of the Month Review
By Shawn McKenzie 10/13/2006
Zack Bradley (Dane Cook) is a thirty-something box boy at the New Mexico-based branch of a warehouse club called Super Club. He used to be very successful in the Dot Com ‘90s, but when the bubble burst, he decided to kick back and work in a non-stress job. He now lives with his granny (Barbara Dodd Ramsen) and is friends with forklift operator Russell (Harland Williams), family man electronics department attendant Iqbal (Brian George), and vision-impaired optician Lon (Andy Dick.) Even though he is considered head box boy, Zack really couldn’t care less about the job…or even showing up on time. His nemesis is blonde head cashier Vince Downey (Dax Shepard) who, with the assistance of his toady box boy Jorge (Efren Ramirez), has won the employee of the month award for the past 17 months straight. If Vince makes it eighteen in a row, he will enter the employee hall of fame, possibly get a management position, and will be awarded a Chevy Malibu…so say the store manager Glen Gary (Tim Bagley) and his assistant Dirk (Sean Whalen.) Whoop-de-do is the attitude of Zack…until he meets the new Super Club employee. Amy Renfro (Jessica Simpson) is a cashier who recently transferred from another store, and according to Intel received by Russell, she reportedly has a thing for sleeping with employee of the month winners. Suddenly Zack gets a burst of motivation, because he would really like to hook up with this blonde hottie in low-cut shirts. Even though the race is open to everyone, it becomes a two-way one between Zack and Vince. Vince gets the early lead, and Zack is bummed when he sees security guard Semi (Marcello Thedford) put a gold star on that day’s winning report board day after day. Both Zack and Vince attempt to take Amy out on dates, but Zack’s charm appears to be winning her over as opposed to Vince’s employee skills. Glen’s corporate boss…his older brother Glen Ross (Danny Woodburn), who ironically happens to be a little person…shows up to oversee the progress of the store and the employee of the month race, so Zack kicks it into high gear…and hopefully win Amy over once and for all.
I’ve never worked at one of those large warehouse stores, like Sam’s Club or Costco, where you can buy things cheaply, as long as you buy it in bulk…but I have a feeling that Employee of the Month won’t completely resonate with actual warehouse store employees either.
My main problem is that it didn’t generate some realism with its comedy. Other workplace comedies…such as 1999’s Office Space, last year’s Waiting (ironically featuring Cook in a small role), or even either version of television’s “The Office”…mix in their comedy with stuff that people in those positions can identify with. In this movie, having Shepard’s character act like Tom Cruise from 1988’s Cocktail (with a pricing gun instead of with cocktails) was amusing, but not real. I’ve met enthusiastic retail employees when waiting in the checkout line, but none of them have done some price gun sharp-shooting from a long distance. Also, I’ve never seen a warehouse store employee with as much cleavage as Simpson’s character sports in this movie (it’s fun to look at, but it isn’t realistic.) The only thing that sounded somewhat plausible is that I could imagine some lazy employees might possibly construct a little clubhouse amongst the high-rise shelves to do things like playing poker. Like I said…since I’ve never worked in one of those stores, I can’t confirm that, but I could see it happening.
The original buzz surrounding the release of this movie was if Cook and Simpson became a couple following the making of it. They dispelled those rumors at the 2006 Teen Choice Awards a couple months ago, and watching their non-chemistry here confirms it. Individually, they were okay, but together, they certainly didn’t generate the heat that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie did in last year’s Mr. & Mrs. Smith. I’m still trying to figure out if I like Cook yet. I know that he is considered one of America’s most popular comedians, but in his two hosting appearances on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” I failed to find his two lengthy opening monologues funny. Friends of mine swear that his stand-up act is hilarious, so I guess I’ll have to seek out one of one of his stand-up comedy CD’s for an uncensored representation of his comedy (the edited-for-television version ain’t cutting it.) As for Simpson…I’m one of the few defenders of her acting abilities. She will most likely never earn an Oscar nomination, but so many people forget that she played a funny blonde ditz on FOX’s “That ‘70s Show” for a few seasons before she gained her fame on the MTV reality show “Newlyweds.” Unfortunately, she is barely in the movie (just enough to show off her assets in some tight-fitting shirts.) The only time when she isn’t making guys drool is during a scene when she exposes her big Dumbo ears (I never really thought about how big her ears were before.) I would love to see her reunite with her “That ‘70s Show” boyfriend Ashton Kutcher (another underrated actor) in a screwball comedy together someday.
Is Employee of the Month funny? It has its flashes, like with Dick (yes, I like the former “NewsRadio” and “Less Than Perfect” actor) and Shepard (speaking of Kutcher…since Shepard gained his first fame on Kutcher’s hidden camera MTV show “Punk’d”), but it didn’t make me bust a gut. As I said before, I think that workplace comedies are funnier when you can identify with them, as either an employee or a customer, since that’s where the laughs are generated. Vince may win “employee of the month” for the 18th month in a row, but this movie won’t win the box office race.
Buy this CD at
SEE THIS MOVIE!
Catch this movie at the theater if you can...
Wait until it comes out on video...
Wait until it plays on HBO, Showtime, Starz, etc...
Demand your money back, even if you saw it for free!