Slacker Goes Crackers for Sexy Amy
Describing "Employee of the Month" as a distinctly average movie is not a criticism; in fact it could be taken as praise as what ends up being your run of the mill no brainer comedy could easily have fallen completely flat. "Employee of the Month" is the sort of movie which gets regularly churned out by Hollywood in a sort of filler manner, in that it doesn't try to do anything new or different, it just follows a predictable route, giving its then relatively unheard of stars some screen time and no doubt turns a small profit for not much work. There can't be any other reason for it as "Employee of the Month" is so unambitious it's nearly horizontal in its laid back tale of checkout rivalry.
Slacker Zack (Dane Cook - Stuck on You) has got himself into an easy routine, working as a box boy at the local SuperClub superstore where he hangs out with his work mates, doing the minimum and basically keeping under the radar of his boss's glances. The only effort he exerts is when he takes the mickey out of Vince (Dax Shephard - Cheaper by the Dozen) the 17 time winner of employee of the month. That is until he hears a rumour about sexy new cashier Amy (Jessica Simpson - The Dukes of Hazzard) who apparently gets the hots for whoever wins the "employee of the month" award and so sets about stealing Vince's crown and hopefully the girl as well.
"Employee of the Month" actually starts off quite promisingly setting up the various characters especially those of Dane Cook's slacker box-boy Zack and Dax Shepard's over the top chief cashier Vince. You even get a sense that maybe this could be something both clever and juvenile in a "The 40 Year Old Virgin" sense. But the promising start soon spirals down to a routine storyline of rivalry, love and a semi moralistic message about doing things for the right reasons. It is disappointing that there is no ambition when it comes to the storyline, relying on staple set piece scenes which at times feel like they have been cherry picked from various other movies. But then it does it adequately merging all these stereotypical scenarios into an overall adequate storyline.
It's also a little disappointing in the heavy handedness of the humour often feeling like they have thrown everything at the movie in the hope it will get a laugh. It again ends up like a series of cherry picked set piece gags and scenarios with too many of the gags ending up feeling juvenile but a little too safe. It's a strange thing as in one scene a joke will be as simplistic as making fun of someone's height, then the next it will try an in joke such as the name of the super market owners Glenn Gary and Glenn Ross, but it always seems to be restraining itself never wanting to do something that may just offend someone. It is in-fact rather too safe to really appeal to the teenage market who are its obvious target market,
As for the performances well lets be honest it's a juvenile comedy and you don't expect anything stunning which is a good thing because there is nothing stunning to offer. Dane Cook who unfortunately comes across like a second rate Ryan Reynolds is adequate in the lead role, reasonably good looking, sort of likeable and quite believable as a slacker. Whilst Jessica Simpson spends the majority of the movie just looking beautiful and doing little else.
Probably the most entertaining performance comes from Dax Shephard as super checkout operative Vince, a performance so over the top that it's both annoying and entertaining in the same breath. By the end of "Employee of the Month" I was glad it was all over because I couldn't take much more of the camp villainous activity but at least his over the top antics made for a decent distraction when the rest of the movie suffered from a lack of impetuous.
what this all boils down to is the "Employee of the Month" is your run of the mill juvenile comedy, without the use of gross out humour or nudity to drive the laughs. It's not overly memorable and it's certainly not original but it will most likely make you smile a few times, groan a few times and wonder why a few more times. "Employee of the Month" is not a terrible movie it just suffers because it's not ambitious and feels a little too safe when it delivers its adolescent humour.