Employee of the Month Greg Coolidge

Does Employee of the Month really qualify as a movie? Everyone involved, from the writers to the director to most of the tech squad, seem devoted to nothing but the bare minimum required for a paycheque.

Comedian Dane Cook stars as a slovenly ne’er-do-well who works as a box boy at a big-box retailer; his arch-nemesis is the pointlessly blonde Dax Shepard, who’s been employee of the month for 16 straight weeks. Cook is happy to let things slide until the arrival of cashier Jessica Simpson, who reportedly enjoys shtupping the aforementioned Employee, sparking him to change his slothful ways and compete with the singularly pompous Shepard.

Alas, the only comedy in the film comes from watching Simpson try and fail to act natural; she’s most hilarious when merely trying to stand still and listen. By contrast, everyone who tries to be funny in this movie fails spectacularly by dint of having no funny lines and Greg Coolidge’s point-and-shoot approach to timing. The whole production is treated like a foundling put to work as a chimney sweep: it doesn’t matter if the thing suffers, it just has to do the job.

Unfortunately, the job is to give us something to laugh at and the enfeebled creative energies on display don’t even begin to be up to the task — even Andy Dick can’t muster a few titters as an eyewear clerk with coke-bottle glasses. As that typifies the film’s obvious approach to comedy, it should come as no surprise that the film rouses the standard slob comedy moral of "try your best,” "you can make it.” Though in this case it’s the filmmakers who ought to be taking their own advice. (Maple)