Employee of the Month Greg Coolidge

Many comedians hate Dane Cook; he’s been accused of committing the most sacrilegious of sins in his stand-up routine: joke plagiarism. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a comic that admits he’s funny. Well, it’s a good thing for Cook that he has a massive audience and over one million friends on MySpace. Because of his fan base, he can star in run of the mill films like Employee of the Month and build his profile as a movie star. Set in the Super Club, a Costco-like bulk warehouse, Cook stars as Zack, a slacking box boy living out his prime doing the absolute minimum. An annoying arch-nemesis, Vince (played by the much funnier Dax Shepard), is the store’s overzealous, anal poster boy who "owns” the checkout counter and is a legend in the surrounding area. When new employee and hottie Amy (Jessica Simpson) arrives at the store, the two co-workers wage a battle to win her love, as well as the ultimate "employee of the month” honours (which include a "new-ish” car). Employee of the Month isn’t the worst of this type of niche comedy but it isn’t particularly clever either, unlike Office Space. The ensemble cast fill in the holes of the store’s staff (i.e., Andy Dick plays a partially blind optician) and some of them, like the mentor/student duo of Shepard and Efren Ramirez (Napoleon Dynamite’s Pedro), turn in valuable comedic moments. As lead stars though, Cook and Simpson aren’t effective; the former fails to convince as a likeable romantic lead and the latter, well, it’s little surprise that she’s as stiff as the wood in the pants of her fawning male cast members. These films all end the same and Employee is no exception, but before it reaches that conclusion there are a few good comedic bits. The Coolidge and Cook commentary gives the star a shot at proving his funny but he fails to demonstrate his "comic genius” with flimsy, unscripted humour. An alternate opening featuring luscious Housewife Eva Longoria generates some laughs and works as one of the funniest moments of the DVD. Plus: outtakes. (Maple)