Get a Job (2016)

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“I need you to step up.”

Thanks to the footprint of the internet, we live in a time where nothing really ever dies; instead they’re simply forgotten. That’s what makes Get a Job so damn irritating. Shot in 2012, the movie rightfully sat on the shelf until its recent VOD release. Audiences watch a talented cast, most of whom have moved on to bigger and better things, waste away in what has to be one of the worst scripted films I’ve seen to date. Get a Job is a smug, vulgar homage to 90’s bubblegum cinema. Unsophisticated, unfunny, unintelligent. Just because a movie was made does not mean it deserves our time.

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The film is the first big credit for writers Kyle Pennekamp and Scott Turpel, and about 10 minutes in you understand why. They occupy their spaces with characterizations rather than people, have no setups or payoffs, and bridge zero gaps in the story. Miles Teller stars as Will Davis, a recent graduate expecting his internship to become his career. Jillian’s (Anna Kendrick) his girlfriend, a 22-year-old hoping to get serious, at least until she becomes unemployed. He lives with three guys, as you’d expect, and they all fit the normal billing. High school chemistry teacher and pothead Charlie (Nicholas Braun). Semi-stoner and cubicle dweller Luke (Brandon T. Jackson). Ethan (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) is developing an app that enables stalking. Pennekamp and Turpel seem to have written versions of themselves or individuals they’ve known closely, and by doing so forget to imbue the people with details that matter. We see what they do but not why they do it.

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Bryan Cranston tags along as Will’s recently laid off father. So does Marcia Gay Harden as the young man’s stern employer. The fledgling attempts at romance between Teller and Kendrick never foot the bill. There’s no chemistry between the cast. And somehow, way below the surface of the sketch (it’s not a feature-length script) is a harped upon message with substantive power. Get a Job wags a middle finger at my very own age group. So entitled, raised on reward, rarely told no. In one of the movie’s only truthful moments, Will – a recently disposed of intern – confronts his boss (John Cho). “You owe me,” he says with arrogance. The reply? “I don’t owe you s***.” That’s a praiseworthy bit, but the movie squanders the moment’s power by convincing us that everything is going to wrap up just the way these people dreamed of. Had it listened to its own advice, Get a Job could have been commendable and not dismissive.

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There are lines like, “I’m an accomplished masturbator!” slewed throughout. A scene with office employees hedging bets on whether or not the go-getter Luke can guzzle a cup of deer semen to get a long-awaited promotion. Things end with a comical revamp of the classic monologue that closes When Harry Met Sally. For whatever reason, and we’re given none, Will uses pivotal points in the story and his own personal growth to make comparisons to ultimate frisbee. Like that sport, Get a Job wings it from here to there and back again, always making sure that while in possession of the disc – as per the rules – it keeps both feet at a standstill. Whatever year it was released wouldn’t matter, because this one goes sailing over the barbed wire fence. Instead of going through the hassle of retrieving a piece of plastic, just try to forget about it and get on with your life.

“We don’t have a job for you.”

Rating: 0.5 out of 5

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