2015 - 83 minutes
Directed by: Dylan Kidd
Written by: Kyle Pennekamp, Scott Turpel
Starring: Miles Teller, Anna Kendrick, Bryan Cranston, Nicholas Braun, Brandon T. Jackson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alison Brie, Marcia Gay Harden, Jorge Garcia, Bruce Davison
Get a Job just doesn’t work. Shot four years ago and shelved before being unceremoniously dumped onto VOD, the trite comedic commentary on millennials entering the workforce bears indications of being cobbled together from rough material that never had a chance. Or a point. Editing is choppy and awkward, using disjointed scenes to squeeze in bits of exposition only because there’s a supposed payoff later. There are nuggets of ideas that are just kind of strung together with no purpose. A strong cast is given precious little to do, and Get a Job certainly won’t be featured prominently on the resumes of Miles Teller, Anna Kendrick, or Bryan Cranston.
Recent college grad Will (Teller) has it made. He’s sure that his video production skills will land him a permanent gig at L.A. Weekly, where he’s been interning. His girlfriend Jillian (Kendrick) is also excited about her prospects, sure that “junior” will be removed from her new job title within a year. Things don’t go as planned, and Will is forced to scramble to make rent payments, first taking a front desk job at a seedy motel – where Marc Maron appears in one of many small, inane roles for recognizable performers. Through a ridiculous bit of fortune, Will catches on as videographer for a corporate job-placement firm, recording video resumes for out of work sad sacks. Alison Brie is his randomly profane colleague, Marcia Gay Harden is the ball-busting honcho, and Bruce Davison is…some other higher-up.
Get a Job pretends to be saying something about Will’s generation, with an opening voiceover telling us they’ve been coddled to the point of ineffectiveness. Receiving participation trophies and being constantly told they’re special has fueled a sense of entitlement that’s erased any drive to actually succeed at anything. Not exactly revelatory, but basis enough to build a goofy workplace comedy as long as there are some sharp observations. There are none.
Teller’s snark is a decent fit for the movie, but the lack of an arc makes his character a bit too jerky to care about. Will’s roomies are each given one broad character trait – the porn-obsessed unemployed guy, the guy who gets a job as a trader probably because he watched Wall Street or Boiler Room, and the juvenile stoner who works as a middle school teacher only so there can be fake catharsis about rearing children in the end.
The only thing that approaches authenticity is Cranston as Will’s father, a hard-worker for all of his life who’s suddenly out of a job. He’s desperate to stay afloat, but his situation is reduced to monologues at a coffee shop where he sets up his laptop to send out resumes. He disappears for long stretches and pops up for a faux climax that’s setup appears to have been lost on the cutting-room floor. Kendrick suffers a similar fate, with Jillian a mere story cypher, a dumping ground for poorly defined millennial angst.
With no coherent throughlines, Get a Job is a brisk yet joyless mishmash of raunch and suspended adolescence philosophy, neither of them done well. Director Dylan Kidd presents everything in the plainest way possible, appearing to just plow through a script that feels like it never made it out of outline phase.