Whenever a movie languishes on the shelf for years, one wonders what must be wrong with it. Once briefly sporting the highly unfortunate title “Millennials,” Get a Job pairs hot young stars Miles Teller and Anna Kendrick in a long-delayed comedy that’s probably neither as awful as it could have been nor as good as it should have been.
The poster for the movie paints it as a cutesy romantic comedy between the two stars, though it doesn’t take long for one to realize it’s vying more for the stoner territory of Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill laughers. Unfortunately, it never goes far enough to be funny to fans of those movies, despite its obvious influences.
The film opens with a scene of Teller’s William Davis and his girlfriend Gillian (Anna Kendrick) having lunch with his parents, talking about their future plans for post-college. They still live separately with Will having three stoner roommates—Luke, Charlie, and Ethan (Brandon T. Jackson, Nicholas Braun, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse)—who are constant bad influences on Will. This of course makes Gillian even more frustrated.
When Will arrives for his first day at his job at a respectable LA newspaper, he learns they’re experiencing layoffs, which leaves him without a job. So he takes a number of bad ones before scoring a gig as a videographer at an executive consulting firm. Soon, Will’s father Roger (Bryan Cranston) also loses his job and learns that few companies are interested in hiring someone over a certain age, so he camps out at a coffee shop with a sweet barista who helps him get a handle on the job market.
Yes, this is a comedy about finding your way through a tough job market, but it’s also a movie that will find very little favor among anyone who has ever found themselves unemployed and looking for a job.
Teller continues to play upon his generally likeable personality that makes it easier to forgive him even when the film borrows a Seinfeld gag where he has to borrow urine from his father to pass a required drug test. At least it also wisely chooses not to steal the Seinfeld punchline that made it so funny, instead having Teller struggling with a tube spraying urine everywhere as he tries to fill the sample jar.
Get a Job is directed by Dylan Kidd, who years ago showed so much promise with his debut Roger Dodger (starring Jesse Eisenberg in his first major role, no less!) but has done very little of note since then. He certainly doesn’t seem to have much to offer the screenplay by Kyle Pennekamp and Scott Turpel, which can only cobble together a few random ideas and laughs while following the characters through their quest for employment.
Teller and Cranston are quite fantastic as father and son, and they’re constantly the saving grace to a film that never quite finds its footing, especially when it tries to follow Will’s loser friends and their own attempts to keep a job, whether it’s Luke’s efforts at a stockbroker firm or Charlie trying to be a middle school teacher. The sad fact is that Jackson, Mintz-Plasse, and Braun aren’t nearly as interesting so the amount of time the movie spends with them never pays off and just takes away from the three main characters.
On the other hand, there are a few smaller roles worthy of a mention, most notably Saturday Night Live regular Jay Pharoah as a pimp named “Skeezy D,” a role that could have been a caricature but becomes more in his skilled hands.
Even so, there’s absolute very little for women in this movie, because the three female characters are wasted either as sex objects or as women there just to make the male characters’ lives miserable. If it isn’t bad enough that Anna Kendrick is once again wasted as the nagging girlfriend that doesn’t get much of an arc, then Alison Brie is once again forced to play an over-sexed character whose only purpose is to make inappropriate workplace comments to Will.
By the time Gillian loses her job over an hour into a movie, it’s become obvious the filmmakers don’t know what to do with the women in their movie, as they throw Kendrick in front of a video game taking tokes off a bong, as if that’s what her character might do in that situation.
At a certain point, you might start wondering who this movie is supposed to appeal to, because there’s nothing particularly educational or even inspirational about Get a Job. In fact, despite its flagrant attempts to mimic what works in the comedies by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, it’s never particularly funny.
Get a Job opens in select cities and OnDemand on Friday, March 25.