Employee Of The Month

2006, Movie, R, 97 mins


Stand-up sensation Dane Cook's shot at the big time is an uninspired comedy that works better as a vehicle for his costar, Punk'd's Dax Shepard. Scruffy underachiever Zack Bradley (Cook) wasn't always a loser: He had the ambition knocked out of him in the '90s, when the dotcom bubble burst and his start-up went belly up. Now Zack plays it safe by not playing the game at all. He lives with his grandmother and works as a lowly box boy at the local Super Club big-box — he's the guy who packs up the jumbo buckets of hair gel and cases of condoms and offers to carry them to your car. The real stars of the Super Club show are the cashiers, and the star cashier at this particular New Mexico store is Vince (Shepard), South West District Speed Ring Champion and 17-time winner of the coveted Employee of the Month award. Vince is to checkout what Tom Cruise was to bartending in COCKTAIL, and if he wins Employee of the Month for November, Vince gets fast-tracked for management and goes home with $10,000 and a new Chevy Malibu. Zack is content to hang with fellow box boys Russell (Harland Williams) and Iqbal (Brian George), and the myopic store optician, Lon (Andy Dick), except for the fact that he hates the arrogant Vince and his toady "protege," box boy Jorge (NAPOLEON DYNAMITE's Efren Ramirez). But when Zack gets word that sexy new cashier, Amy (Jessica Simpson, whose newly inflated lips impede her speech and make her look uncannily like Jennifer Jason Leigh), has a thing for Employees of the Month, he decides it's time to step up his game before Vince gets the car and the girl. Zack dusts off his regulation-blue Super Club vest, punches in on time and races to be the first one to clean up that jar of cling peaches on Aisle 17, but will winning gold stars with the boss mean selling out his old friends? Hate to spoil it, but yes, it will, though everything turns out fine in the end... except that director Greg Coolidge blows the chance to satirize the big-box way of life that radically changed the way America shops. As anyone who's seen Cook's stand-up knows, he's a funny guy. But he's wasted: Shepard, who has both the more interesting character and more to do, is the star of the show. The less said about Simpson the better; whatever her talents, she can't sell a simple reaction shot, and, perhaps sensing this, Coolidge's camera tends to drift south of her face. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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Employee Of The Month
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