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Employee of the Month
Cashing in on Simpson’s Fame
Employee of the Month
Dax Shepard, Jessica Simpson and Dane Cook Star in "Employee of the Month".
OPENING WEEKEND: $10,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $28,000,000
OTHER PREVIEWS: Alatriste (7/10)
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

May 10th, 2006: Vince Downey (Dax Shepard) and Zack Bradley’s (Dane Cook) careers at the immense, high-volume, bulk-discount retail store Super Club have taken drastically different paths. In ten years, Vince has excelled, advancing to become head cashier and winning 17 consecutive “Employee of the Month” awards, thanks in large part to his cooperative sidekick Jorge (Efren Ramirez). Zack, on the other hand, has exhibited a total slacker attitude, which has done nothing to promote him from his low rank as a box boy. When Super Club acquires a gorgeous new cashier named Amy (Jessica Simpson), the two long-time rivals become bitter enemies. Totally smitten by the new co-worker, both try their best to impress her, transforming into a couple of dorks in the process. However, it seems that Amy is into ambitious types, giving Vince an early advantage. As Zack’s efforts to charm her fail, he decides to try and beat Vince at his own game by attempting to win the next “Employee of the Month” award. The ensuing gamesmanship takes on brand new comical proportions.

What to Expect: Don Calame and Chris Conroy each share one previous writing credit for the made for television Hounded, an uninspired family comedy about a teen harassed by a mean-spirited canine. The two collaborated on the script for Employee of the Month, with Greg Coolidge eventually stepping in to rewrite and direct the picture. Coolidge has a history as a supporting actor in movies like the juvenile Sorority Boys, but only one brief stunt as a director to speak of. His short film Queen for a Day, about a fitness trainer pretending to be homosexual in order to put women at ease while he fondles them, was an impressive idea, albeit a poorly executed one. The clever premise quickly fizzled during the film’s brief four minute running time when it was revealed, in a Twilight Zone type of a twist, that every one else around him was gay as well. I see similar potential in the Employee of the Month story, but I would not be shocked if it were to crumble even quicker as a full-length feature.

Article continues below

The casting shows promise, however I don’t see much beyond a conscious effort by the filmmakers to capitalize on the popularity of the young stars. Dane Cook has been one of the hottest stand-up comedians during this decade and his film career is only beginning to take off. His role as a disgusting cook in the nauseating comedy Waiting… combined with a successful hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, really helped him capture some of the spotlight last year. Currently, Cook has The Farce of the Penguins, Dan in Real Life, and Mr. Brooks (which also stars Kevin Costner and William Hurt) also in development. True to his Employee of the Month character, Dax Shepard is not falling far behind. At the moment, Ashton Kutcher’s former right hand on the MTV prank show “Punk’d” is working on Let’s Go to Prison, Car Wars, Get ‘Em Wet, and the long-awaited futuristic Mike Judge comedy, Idiocracy. He is even dabbling in writing the script for Get ‘Em Wet. Efren Ramirez, known to most as the withdrawn and constantly drowsy Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite, seems to be everywhere lately. For one, you will be able to catch him as a cross-dresser in the action flick Crank, which also releases in September. And with two of the finest veterans of immature comedy, Andy Dick and Harland Williams, who, combined, may lack the sophistication of one Dane Cook, you can expect almost anything.

Unfortunately, the lovely Jessica Simpson is the odd one out and may single-handedly undermine whatever glimmer of hope this project has. As far as tabloid publicity is concerned, she is right up there with Paris Hilton, Tomkat, and Branjelina, but her rigid and unfunny performance as Daisy Duke in the equally dreadful The Dukes of Hazzard caused her to lose most of the allure she may have held as an artist. The fascinating part is that she will reportedly be paid $1,240 per uttered word in Employee of the Month. Apparently, her role calls for only 806 words so quick math shows that the studio will shell out nearly $1 million to her for reading what essentially amounts to less than the length of this preview. I’m sure they will not pay her for any retakes, but I wonder if she still gets a check for any scenes that get cut. The producers are clearly hoping that her fame and publicity will generate buzz for the film, but I think her involvement in the comedy is about as fitting as if they got Hillary Duff. Simpson’s lack of comedic timing isn’t much more helpful either.

In Conclusion: Employee of the Month could benefit from a plot that relies on the influence of past successes like Dumb and Dumber, but when compared to the similarly themed School For Scoundrels, it clearly seems like a much weaker project. It could become a type of slacker comedy that resonates with a small group of teenagers, but what slackers would freely admit to liking a movie with Jessica Simpson in one of the leads. It’s more likely that she will alienate the crowd for whom this film was specifically designed. However, I don’t want to single out Simpson as a solitary black spot on a bright shinning sun because the comedy seems like a lazy effort in general – another tired, beaten-down formula. In this case, it’s buffoonery over a girl. I feel like this is the type of comedy that will never hit any high spots and any time Simpson will appear on screen, the humor will simply stop dead. I wouldn’t be surprised if this rushed effort to cash-in on the main stars ends up bombing in the theaters.

Similar Titles: The Girl Next Door, Dude, Where’s My Car?, Waiting…
October 6th, 2006 (wide)
January 16th, 2007 (DVD)

Lions Gate Films

Greg Coolidge

Dane Cook, Jessica Simpson, Dax Shepard, Efren Ramirez, Harland Williams, Andy Dick

Total: 65 vote(s).


Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 for crude sexual humor, and language

103 min






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