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Review: ‘Get a Job’ doesn’t work hard enough to seal the deal

Miles Teller, left, and Jay Pharoah in "Get A Job."
(Chuck Zlotnick)

If “Get a Job,” a comedy about millennial college graduates diving uncertainly into the work pool, was the subject of an employee performance evaluation, it would likely go along the lines of the following:

“A competent team player that falls short of potential by failing to take the initiative to go that extra mile.”

Discovering that the gig he thought was waiting for him at L.A. Weekly no longer exists, glib Will (Miles Teller) finds himself settling for a series of dead-end jobs while fielding pep talks from his self-possessed girlfriend (Anna Kendrick) and his dad (Bryan Cranston), himself entering the job market after being unceremoniously downsized from upper management.

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Will ultimately follows the advice of a savvy lap dancer and ends up producing boring video resumes for the straight-laced executive placement firm, Wilheimer Corp., where he’s kept on a short creative leash by an icy executive (Marcia Gay Harden).

Director Dylan Kidd, whose edgier 2002 debut, “Roger Dodger,” won best feature at the inaugural Tribeca Film Festival, keeps the tone loose and quirky, even as the script, by Kyle Pennekamp and Scott Turpel, works overtime on all the bodily fluid gags.

But at the end of the day, the film, which was actually shot in 2012 (two years before Teller starred in the justifiably acclaimed “Whiplash”) can’t help but feel like a temp version of a Seth Rogen concept.

Even with a sprawling ensemble also including Bruce Davison, Alison Brie, Brandon T. Jackson and Jorge Garcia as a mystical janitor — all comedic talents capable of sealing the deal — the payoff is sporadically rewarding at best.

“Don’t just feel special, be special,” Teller’s Will advises fellow employment seekers, hitting the nail squarely on the head.

“Get a Job” is nothing special.

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“Get a Job”

MPAA rating: R for crude and sexual content, nudity, drug use and language.

Running time: 1 hour, 23 minutes.

Playing: Also on VOD.


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