Review: Get a Job
PLOT: After graduating college, Will (Miles Teller) and his friends are shocked to discover that the financially secure, creatively rewarding careers they imagined themselves getting might be harder to achieve than they thought.
REVIEW: For those wondering why a movie starring Miles Teller, Anna Kendrick, Alison Brie and Bryan Cranston is going straight to VOD, here’s a rundown. GET A JOB was actually shot back in early 2012, months before Teller started shooting THE SPECTACULAR NOW (which came out in 2013) and even before Kendrick’s PITCH PERFECT had hit theaters. Heck, Breaking Bad hadn’t even started the first half of its last season yet. Originally produced by CBS Films during its tenure as a major studio, GET A JOB sat on the shelf a full four years, and for awhile it looked like the film would never see the light of day.
But is GET A JOB so bad that it’s unreleasable? Not exactly. While not even close to being a good film (at eighty-two minutes with credits it’s so short that it barely qualifies as one) I’ve seen worse movies get theatrical releases. But having been made during the recession as a kind of satire on the unemployment crisis, the film probably ended-up seeming like a poorly conceived idea as the economy went further-and-further into the toilet.
Let’s face it, satire is a tough thing to pull-off for even our most brilliant directors. For every Stanley Kubrick with DR. STRANGELOVE there’s a Steven Spielberg going awry with 1941. Director Dylan Kidd, who made a great movie in the early aughts called ROGER DODGER, is in way over his head here. Early on GET A JOB tries to paint itself as a kind of REALITY BITES-style comedy-drama, but rather than follow-through on that promise it devolves into a wannabe hardcore comedy fueled by tons gross-out humor, such as a horrible slapstick moment when Teller’s Will tries to substitute his urine for his father’s (Cranston) during a company drug test.
Scenes like this make it seem like Kidd and CBS Films were trying to make this along the lines of Teller’s own PROJECT X or THE HANGOVER, going for an R-rating that means strip club trips and F-bombs a-plenty. But, they try to have it both ways, with whole plotlines, such as Cranston’s desperate attempt to find a new job at middle-age playing out totally straight, giving it a schizophrenic vibe.
There’s also something thoroughly bizarre in that despite the title being GET A JOB, Teller’s character has a good one within fifteen minutes of the start, and we watch him try to rise up through the ranks in a kind of entitled, millennial take on THE SECRET OF MY SUCCESS. Teller’s character is an absolute punk right from the beginning, blowing his dad’s last few bucks on a huge TV for his weed smoking buddies, and whining that his boss is angry with him for not giving him carte blanche and letting him dress like a frat boy.
No one else besides Cranston (who can’t help but be personable) come-off any better, with Kendrick’s entitled brat angry at her boyfriend for not making enough money while she wastes 700 bucks on designer shoes and a fancy loft apartment despite being $90,000 in debt. Compared to them, the yuppies from ST. ELMO’S FIRE seem like paragons of restraint. It’s likely the entitlement that each character displays and eventually ends up rewarded-by is the main reason this sat on the shelf, with the legions of unemployed, skilled workers out there likely not finding too much to laugh about in this twenty-something fairytale.
Still, the fact that it took four years to come out has a fascinating effect in that it really does feel like a movie from another era, with Teller, Kendrick, Alison Brie (wasted in a generic sexpot part) and especially Cranston all thoroughly beyond this kind of sitcom fare. This is only worth watching in that it’s a movie that may well have never seen the light of day had all involved not gone on to become so popular. I’m sure it’s one they’re all eager to forget and a reminder that satire is best left to the masters.