Film Review: Get a Job (★★★)

get_a_jobThe trend of long delayed films turning out to be unnecessarily shelved continues with Get a Job. Now, this comedy isn’t a lost masterpiece like Margaret or anything of the sort, but it is an entertaining comedy that manages to remain just as relevant as it would have been, had it made its original 2012 release date. Notably, this marks the return of filmmaker Dylan Kidd, who was so impressive in his debut Roger Dodger and now is finally out of movie jail. Get a Job takes the trappings of the bromance/buddy comedy genre and uses it explore what life is like for college graduates in the modern world, specifically in terms of employment and becoming a true adult. Armed with a charismatic turn by Miles Teller and an impressive ensemble, Kidd makes this more than just a throwaway little flick. The script plays towards the lowest common denominator at times, but it also sprinkles in some very witty material as well. The end result is that Get a Job is a solid comedy, though one that does have a blemish or two on its record. Still, the mere fact that it’s finally making its way to screens is a triumph in and of itself. I’d be waiting to see this movie for almost half a decade, so it was delightful to find out that it didn’t disappoint.

The film begins with a voiceover from Will Davis (Teller), talking about how his generation was brought up to believe that they were special and could do anything. We then see how this worldview measures up when life actually begins after college. Will is in a committed relationship with Jillian Stewart (Anna Kendrick), but while she has gotten her entry level job all set up, he’s still living with college friends Charlie (Nicholas Braun), Ethan (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), and Luke (Brandon T. Jackson). They’ve all got plans of some sort, but Will is just hoping to live off of his parents for a bit while he figures it all out. His father Roger Davis (Bryan Cranston) refuses on principle, but then because he’s lost his job. So, we see both generations out on the job hunt, seeing how their places in the world are far from what they expected. It’s funny, yes, but there’s also something serious to say here about the search for employment and the effect it can have on a person.

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Even back in 2012, you could tell that Miles Teller was set to be a star. The actor just has such a charming screen presence that even when he’s a bit on the cocky side, you still like him. Here, Teller plays someone in need of a reality check, but someone you want to follow as he sets out on this journey. His character, as well as Anna Kendrick’s, are the ones who manage to get fully fleshes out, so the best scenes in the movie are the ones with them together. Kendrick has great chemistry with Teller, so even while she’s not in it as much as you’d hope, she makes her scenes count. Bryan Cranston is having fun with his part, though his subplot takes up far too much of a short film. Cranston is always a pleasure, mind you, so I’m barely complaining. More annoying is the trio of Nicholas Braun, Brandon T. Jackson, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, who each play stereotypes and give them no new dimensions. Jackson is the least offensive, but Braun as a stoner junior high school chemistry teacher is troubling and Mintz-Plasse as the designer of a stalker app is downright repulsive. They’re most there for cheap laughs and third act plot machinations, so a little bit of them goes a long way. Also on hand in this large ensemble are Alison Brie (stealing her few scenes), John Cho, Jorge Garcia, Marcia Gay Harden, Marc Maron, John C. McGinley, and more, though it’s Teller who shines.

Dylan Kidd doesn’t match his earlier works Roger Dodger or P.S. here with Get a Job, but he does showcase the confidence that made him someone to watch. He’s undercut somewhat by a choppy editing job that clearly shows how many different hands tried to shape this over the years, but he manages to overcome that. The same goes for the hit or miss script by Kyle Pennekamp and Scott Turpel, as their work varies from clever and insightful to almost tasteless. With a lesser cast and a lesser director than Kidd, Pennekamp and Turpel might have seen their screenplay turn into a poor film. Luckily, that’s not the case and the movie winds up a success. You can tell that this was written in response to the recession, so even though we’re a bit past that now, the themes and feelings that are held within still certainly resonate.

Overall, Get a Job succeeds not only be managing to just come out, but by still being a timely look at the economic situation of millennials. To be sure, it’s not a hard hitting and awards worthy glimpse at the situation, but it’s a charming and funny comedy with something important to say. If you enjoy this sort of mid range entertainment, I suspect you’ll find it winning you over with ease. Especially if you’re a fan of someone in the cast, there’s plenty to like here. Get a Job isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s finally in release and well worth seeing.

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