In a world of streaming dominance, it’s now not all that unusual for major releases with big stars to not get a coveted slot at your local multiplex. Oddly, GET A JOB did get a big screen release in the USA but has thusfar to my knowledge been denied this everywhere else. I rented it on iTunes in the UK, and was less than optimistic when I realised it came from Dylan Kidd, one of the people who tried to remake PEEP SHOW.
Wannabe online marketer Will (Miles Teller) has a fancy degree but no career prospects as he gets caught in a series of soul-crushing jobs to keep up his comfortable lifestyle. Meanwhile his housemates and his girlfriend Jillian (Anna Kendrick), not to mention his dad Roger (Bryan Cranston) find themselves struggling to stay in jobs that are anything more than a means to an end.
Will’s eye-rolling at his dad’s oft-told story of self-made success is cute enough. Roger’s heartfelt (and unbeknownst to him, recorded) confession that he just needs to get an interview, to allow a potential employer to see the real him, works. I really don’t know why aren’t seeing more characters in young adult comedies struggling to get paid work writing or creating content on the Internet, or films that follow the middle-aged unemployed desperate to start again, both prevalent and bittersweet issues in society today. In both cases these seldom-explored and potentially enlightening subject areas are wasted, and that’s a shame.
God this is lazy comedy. It’s all based around unlikable characters being unlikable hitting snags when they encounter people more unlikable than them. Will is a nasty, egotistical piece of work. Who honestly cares when he locks horns with his even more repulsive boss Katherine (Marcia Gay Harden)? You don’t want him to one-up her, you just want their encounters to end in Mutually Assured Destruction. Everyone we meet is a stereotype – jock, stoner, creeper, grafter, nympho, nerd – the script by Kyle Pennecamp and Scott Turpel lacks wit and awareness throughout and only raises a grimace when they crack out a gross-out set piece built around human and animal bodily fluids.
Miles Teller seems to alternate between making brave choices and proving his versatility (as in WHIPLASH) and taking easy roles where he gets by being insufferably smug (most comedies he does, including this one). The ever-reliable Anna Kendrick is completely wasted as Will’s careerist girlfriend Jillian and she doesn’t really get anything meaningful to do until the last 20 minutes of the movie. After a decade of really interesting and eclectic roles, Bryan Cranston has fallen back on playing (admittedly well) another mild-mannered working dad, another Hal. Someone else who doesn’t have to stretch himself is John C McGinley, who plays Doctor Cox again, remembering to change his shirt but not his behavioural tics.
This was probably good-intentioned to start with, it probably aimed to give well-educated young people at a loss in life a little bit of hope. Kendrick gets to make the final inspirational “I don’t know what to do with my life but that’s OK” speech before Teller nullifies it shortly after by summing everything up with a trite advertising slogan. The people involved probably didn’t intend for Get a Job to be so condescending either, but with such a lack of good jokes that’s pretty much the only feeling you’re left with, that you’re being relentlessly talked down to. Sometimes you struggle to understand why studios push back release dates or show such little faith in their products, but here they were completely right to give up hope, just as anyone watching Get a Job will. SSP