Friday, October 6, 2006
Jessica Simpson, Dane Cook, Dax Shepard and colleagues will not be in the running for Hollywood's employee of the month for their new comedy.
In fact, except for stand-up comic Cook, who manages to come off as likable enough in the dreadful workplace tale "Employee of the Month," everyone else involved belongs in the unemployment line.
In a perfect workday world, this miserably idiotic movie would put an end to Simpson's alleged acting career (since last year's woeful "The Dukes of Hazzard" had not already done the trick). Simpson's so flat and vacuous, it's an insult to all the equally untalented yet unknown pretty faces looking for a break in Hollywood that she got the role over them.
But she's lovely to just sit and stare at, and she's a pop star whose celebrity makes movie marketers' chores that much easier. So audiences may be stuck with her awhile, until studios and filmmakers decide to stop hiring her because she has no presence on screen.
First-time director Greg Coolidge shares screenwriting credit with Don Calame and Chris Conroy, who wrote the story, and it's a sorry day on the job when it takes the toil of three people to come up with a comedy so lame and gags so pathetic.
Employee of the Month *
Jessica Simpson, Dane Cook and Dax Shepard star in this lame comedy set in a Costco-like SuperClub warehouse bargain store, where bulk shoppers buy condoms by the gross and hair gel by the gallon tub. First-time director Greg Coolidge shares screenwriting credit with Don Calame and Chris Conroy. It's a sorry day when it takes the toil of three people to come up with such a miserably idiodic movie.
The movie is set at a Costco-like SuperClub warehouse bargain store, where bulk shoppers buy condoms by the gross and hair gel by the gallon tub.
Vince (Shepard), an arrogant, malicious little toad, has risen through the ranks to become head cashier and employee of the month 17 straight times. He now aims for a record No. 18, which would win him a "new-ish" Chevy Malibu from the SuperClub corporation.
Slacker Zack (Cook) is Vince's opposite, lazy and easygoing, a guy who's worked at SuperClub for 10 years and never risen above lowly box-boy status. Yet unlike the reviled Vince, Zack is beloved among his co-workers.
When gorgeous cashier Amy (Simpson) transfers in from another store, the rumor goes around that she only dates employees of the month. Vince and Zack both are smitten, the two going head-to-head to win that month's title and, hopefully, Amy's heart.
What follows in this excessively long flick is a succession of empty-headed jokes and pranks, with a lot of repetitive pratfalls where people take nasty bumps to the head.
Cook rises above execrable material to make Zack a somewhat sympathetic guy. Everyone else is a cardboard caricature, including, sadly, Efren Ramirez (Pedro of "Napoleon Dynamite") as Vince's sidekick.
Simpson utters her dialogue with all the personality of a 10-pound can of cling peaches.
"You employees of the month are all the same," Amy grouses at one point, a line that's just deadly dull in Simpson's lifeless delivery.
But it's a potentially sharp and funny line for filmmakers interested in doing something more akin to TV's brilliant "The Office." Something that at least vaguely reflects a real retail world audiences might recognize, rather than just tossing sub-moronic stick figures into cheesy cashier vests and turning them loose on Hollywood movie shoppers.