Directed by: Greg Coolidge
Starring: Dane Cook, Dax Shepard, Jessica Simpson, Efren Ramirez, Andy Dick
According to the English Language Monitor, a "global assemblage of linguists, professional wordsmiths, and bibliophiles," there are approximately 988,968 words in the English language. Nonetheless, there is only one appropriate word to describe Employee of the Month: lame.
The film from first-time director Greg Coolidge (whose other big credit is co-writer of 2002's Sorority Boys) is really nothing more than a hodgepodge of PG-13 comedic cliches that borrows from everything, from the "college slacker" genre to the romantic comedy.
The movie follows Zack (Dane Cook, Waiting ...), an amiable slouch who has been working at Super Club (think Sam's Club, but with shotguns and caskets for sale) for 10 years, and who does as little work as possible. It's not until new employee Amy (Jessica Simpson, The Duke's of Hazzard) shows up that Zack decides to shape-up and win Employee of the Month in order to win her heart. Standing in his way, however, is Vince (Dax Shepard, Zathura), winner of the past 17 Employee of the Month awards. It's at this point that the high jinks are supposed to ensue, as Zack and Vince duke it out for Amy's affections and the Employee of the Month award -- but apparently the filmmakers forgot this, since there's nary a laugh or chuckle to be found. Even the mildly amusing parts remain flat, as the whole film gets mired in mediocrity.
The only thing of note (and even this is a stretch) is what appears to be the first push at making stand-up comic Dane Cook a movie star. The current big thing in stand-up amongst 15-to-25-year-olds, Cook comes more from the "loud is funny" school of humor, and, depending on who you ask, is either hilarious or more obnoxious than humorous (he's even been of accused of stealing material from, of all people, Pootie Tang (2001) director Louis C.K.). Cook shows restraint throughout the movie, however, and is actually likeable (if a bit smug) onscreen. It's too bad Shepard wasn't allowed to settle down as well, since he spends half the movie shouting random things in a forced attempt to be funny.
And then there's Simpson, who seems like she's doing screen tests for Mannequin 3. It's not just that she lacks acting and comedic ability, but the movie never gives us any reason why Zack would fall for her, other than the fact that they complete each other's sentences and she wears low-cut shirts. This isn't helped by the fact that her character is given absolutely no personality, other than that she apparently listens to really annoying techno music.
Of course, comedy is subjective, so if toilet humor and gay jokes are your thing, this movie may very well be for you. If not, then there's a good chance you'll wish Super Club would have just created a policy prohibiting its employees from dating in the first place, so we wouldn't have had to deal with this mess. Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, and language.
-- reviewed by Justin Souther