Jessica Simpson was the only "highlight" in The Dukes of Hazzard, but thankfully she isn't in Employee of the Month, a fun if not highly predictable "romantic comedy rivalry" pic. The movie stars funnyman Dane Cook and Dax Shephard as two competing Costco employees (it's not actually Costco, but since the movie was filmed in what is clearly a Costco, we'll call it that) eyeing the coveted Employee of the Month title.
For Vince (Shephard), the Employee of the Month title means many things. Having been the star employee for the last 17 months, one more month would mean a fast track to management, a new car and all the glory in the world. For Zack (Cook), it would mean finally slipping out of 10 years of staying below the radar and doing something with his life (well, almost). And more importantly, for both men, it means winning the affection of new employee Amy (Simpson), who is rumored to only be interested in dating Employee of the Month winners.
Thankfully, Employee of the Month avoids one pitfall right away: it is clear from the beginning that Amy is interested in Zack, and not Vince. The movie does not carry on an unrealistic story where Amy allows two men to compete for her affections. After one pathetic date with Vince, she realizes she is not for him, and immediately falls for Zack. Of course, Zack is too stupid to realize this and continues his competition with Vince - although, in reality, this movie is less a romantic comedy and more a rivalry picture between two opposite employees who hate each other.
Surprisingly, Simpson has a pretty small part in this movie. She looks scorching hot, and is decent enough. For a romantic lead, however, her character is amazingly underdeveloped, and she once again serves as more of a tool to look pretty than anything else. But I'm okay with that.
So Employee of the Month pretty much sucks as a romantic comedy, but that's fine with me. As a movie overall, it is surprisingly decent, especially since I was expecting this to about as lame as movies come. The rivalry between Shephard and Cook is pretty entertaining, if not quite outrageous. I've never seen a place make such a deal out of an Employee of the Month competition, nor would it be in the company's best interest to do so. But those are minor details. The movie has a few laugh-out-loud parts and plenty of other amusing segments.
There's nothing spectacular about Employee of the Month and I wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again, but - I never thought I'd say this - I could if I had to. Employee of the Month is a moderately entertaining little film that, like its main character, never thrives to be too much or much at all, but succeeds at doing so.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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