Employee of the Month (2006)

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Review #268 of 365
Film: Employee of the Month (2006) [PG-13] 103 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $09.00
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen:6 October 2006
Time: 5:20 p.m.

Directed by: Greg Coolidge (Queen for a Day)
Screenplay by: Don Calame, Chris Conroy, & Greg Coolidge (Sorority Boys)
Story by: Don Calame & Chris Conroy

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Dane Cook (Waiting) • Jessica Simpson (The Dukes of Hazzard) • Dax Shepard (Idiocracy) • Andy Dick (Hoodwinked) • Tim Bagley (Accepted) • Brian George ("Saved") • Efren Ramirez (Crank) • Marcello Thedford (Crossover) • Danny Woodburn ("Seinfeld") • Harland Williams (Because of Winn-Dixie) • Sean Whalen ("Unfabulous")

Soundtrack: Download now from Santino - Employee of the Month (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) or - order the CD soundtrack below

Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
I have two words for the new comedy Employee of the Month: February and mid-August (maybe that's two and a half words). In either of these two months, this film would like have received high praise and might have been in the running for the best movie of the month. Traditionally, these two months are when the studios release some of the very worst films of the year. It's not that Employee of the Month is such a horrendously terrible movie, it's just that when compared with the competition, it doesn't stack up too well. The basic premise should have signaled some caution lights. Imagine a movie taking place nearly entirely inside a Costco® warehouse. Yeah. I know. Actually, come to think of it, there's a fairly big Costco® scene in Idiocracy as well, so poor Dax Shepard has had to spend a lot of time in big warehouse sets lately. Anyway, it is difficult to imagine how anyone could come up with enough ideas to keep a movie occurring nearly entirely inside a Costco®-esque wharehouse alive for 104 minutes. Somehow, Director and co-writer Greg Coolidge does keep it alive. Oh there's lots of 'secret' stuff we get to see that you never get to see as a shopper such as the super-secret Cashiers Lounge where water, believe it or not, is free. Can you believe it? Free water? Oh and there's the employee locker room. Yeah, that's cool. Actually, the coolest place, and I mean this sincerely, is the every-little-boy's dream hideout which the slacker box boys have created on the fourth level of shelves hidden behind palletes of products. It's like their secret lair that can only be reached by the special lift-jack and where they can play poker and eat 'broken' candy bars and drink 'dented' soda pop. So, yeah, back to the premise. There's the southwest region's, all-time fastest checker, Vince (Dax Shepard) who has won "Employee of the Month" for the store for 17 consecutive months which is about to become 18 and a new chain record. Everyone is all so very excited about this record. The company is going to give this month's winner a "newish" Chevy Malibu. Needless to say, Vince wants that "newish" car despite coveting his 1981 Honda hatch back. Vince, as the hero, of course, has a wingman in the form of Jorge (Efren Ramirez) who boxes at Check Stand #1 where the head cashier rings up groceries. At the store, which operates like a tiny version of old India with a definite caste system in place, box boys are at the very bottom, and Cashiers are just under management. Among the box boys, Zack (Dane Cook) is king of the jungle with his roller shoes, tousled hair, two-day beard, and devil-may-care attitude. He's been a box boy for years, never moved up, and lives with his grandmother. He has a posse, so to speak, in Lon the "About an Hour" glasses specialist (Andy Dick), Electronics guy Iqbal (Brian George), and fellow box boy Russell (Harland Williams). He has no car, but he does 'borrow' a mini motorcycle--the kind designed for 10 year olds—to get back and forth to work. With Vince on top breaking store and chain records, and Zack on the bottom keeping a full-time job while exerthing as little effort as possible, things are right in the store which keeps Store Manager, Glen Gary (Tim Bagley), and Asst. Store Manager, Dirk (Sean Whalen), in very good spirits which they note on their little clip boards every day. Everything is all right, that is, until, a new cashier arrives transferring in from another store in the form of Amy (Jessica Simpson wearing huge ear prosthetics hidden by her hair).

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For Zack, this is love at first sight, and he must date her. For Vince, this is you only date within your own caste; and, therefore, Amy is automatically his. Using his methods, Zack plans to beat Vince in the conquest of Amy by getting a look at her personel file and gett all the 411 on her in advance. Turns out, her file seems to indicate she has a thing for the "Employee of the Month". Score one point for Vince. So, the only thing for Zack to do, of course, is to win "Employee of the Month". Something he's never done, he's never even won "Employee of the Day", and something that Vince surely will do everything in his power to prevent because, after all, he wants the "newish" Malibu. Lo and behold though, after a gas-passing pep-talk from Iqbal, Zack wins a day, and another, and another, which starts to get Vince nervous. After an awful date with Vince, Amy is convinced that she prefers Zack the Box Boy, but he believes it's only because he has been winning "Employee of the Day" on the way to maybe displacing Vince.

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So, he continues to try to win each day, and Vince tries to stop him. They both begin to do super mean things to each other to cause them to lose, the worst of which involves Vince and Jorge sneaking into Zack's house and setting back all of this clocks by two hours in an attempt to make him late to work, and the funniest of which involves Zack putting Vince's treasured Honda up for sale in the store where a customer buys it off the floor for a dollar.

"…not too much of this film probably will stick with you past the exit sign."
Well, not that it would matter too much to give away any more of the plot, I'll leave it at that. When it comes to life lessons, this film has quite a few. First, don't turn your back on your friends. Second, don't try to cheat your way to the top, you'll eventually get caught. Third, don't assume the girl only likes you because you might be a winner. Forth, don't judge a girl by the size of her ears. And, fifth, don't risk all of your grandmother's retirement money on your dot.com start-up unless you are prepared to have her live out the rest of her days with you should the thing fail. These are all good lessons. There are also a few sweet and sentimental scenes. Zack and Amy's first date is as romantic and charming as one might ever be able to imagine even if it does take place entirely in or on the roof of a Costco®-esque warehouse. Jorge comes back to help Vince in the finale challenge, after leaving him when the two had a big disagreement. Zack admits he wronged his posse members as he rose to the top. Etc. This comedy is surprisingly tame versus others of late as one might have come to expect from films pitched at the 17-25 year-old crowd. In some ways, in fact, it is rather innocuous except when it comes to poking fun at gay people. In that area, it is over the top and mean-spirited for unknown reasons.

All tolled, with decent performances, a decent script, clean direction, and a satisfying ending, still, when it comes time to check out, not too much of this film probably will stick with you past the exit sign.

Related Products from Amazon.com
Other Projects Featuring Employee of the Month (2006) Cast Members
Dane CookJessica SimpsonDax Shepard
Andy DickTim BagleyBrian George
Efren RamirezMarcello ThedfordDanny Woodburn
Harland WilliamsSean Whalen
Other Projects Involving Employee of the Month (2006) Director
Greg Coolidge
CD Soundtrack

Employee of the Month (2006) Review-lite [150-word cap]
Had Employee of the Month been released in February, it might have been the best movie of the month. When compared with the competition of Fall Season, the film, which takes place inside a Costco® -style warehouse, doesn't stack up well. Starring Dax Shepard as Vince, the 17-month straight winner of Employee of the Month head cashier who is foiled by Zack (Dane Cook), king of the box boys with roller shoes, tousled hair, and a devil-may-care attitude, things at the store are copasetic until Jessica Simpson arrives as the new cashier, Amy. Revving both of their shopping carts, they enter a 'friendly' competition for her and to be the next "Employee of the Month". The film has decent performances, an ok script, life lessons galore, and a satisfying ending, still, when it comes time to check out, not much of this film will stick past the exit sign.

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