A group of recent college graduates vie for jobs during a recession, and realize they will need to dial back their expectations of success in this comedy from director Dylan Kidd (Roger Dodger). Meanwhile, a hip barrista (Mimi Gianopulos) befriends a laid off worker (Bryan Cranston) whose jobless status has dealt a devastating blow to his sense of self-confidence. Anna Kendrick, Jay Pharoah, and Miles Teller co-star.
For various reasons, studios sometimes end up shelving completed movies -- locking them away in dusty vaults (or hard drives) while distributors decide what to do with them. And that's exactly what happened to 'Get a Job.' First shot back in 2012, the movie is only now finally being released to audiences. Though I don't have specific insights into the behind-the-scenes reasons for this four year delay, after watching the flick, if I had to guess... I'd say it might have something to do with general quality. And unfortunately, what was painfully mediocre then, is still painfully mediocre now. Despite its relevant subject matter and a rather amazing cast, the script and direction are distressingly generic and juvenile, ruining any attempts at meaningful satire or, well, any real laughs at all.
After graduating from college, Will (Miles Teller) assumes that it's all smooth sailing ahead. But when the company he's been interning for cuts him loose instead of offering him a full-time position, the now unemployed young man finds himself broke and without many options. Desperate for work, he attempts to find a new job... with mixed results. Meanwhile, Will's roommates (Brandon T. Jackson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, and Nicholas Braun), girlfriend (Anna Kendrick), and father (Bryan Cranston) all struggle with their own work issues as well. Faced with a challenging job market, the group will have to overcome dwindling opportunities or suffer the consequences of piling debts.
With a main cast that includes Miles Teller, Anna Kendrick, and Bryan Cranston, and supporting turns and cameos from an eclectic but rather impressive ensemble that includes Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Alison Brie, Marcia Gay Harden, John C. McGinley, Jorge Garcia, Jay Pharoah, and Bruce Davison -- one might expect a solid dose of comedy, or at the very least entertainment. Sadly, that's just not the case here. The script attempts to find humor in the characters' struggles to get jobs, and then, in their struggles to keep those jobs, but the jokes are all exceedingly lazy and immature.
Potentially worthwhile observations about the job market are sacrificed for random sex references, cheap gross-out gags that don't land (someone vomiting deer semen isn't exactly cutting edge comedy), or exaggerated broad characterizations that still feel oddly bland and out of place. From a hyper-sexed office worker and a cartoon caricature pimp, to a magical janitor and a standard evil boss, the supporting players are all over the place, leading to a jumbled tone that never comes together. And even more irritating, is just how generic the actual protagonists are. There's really nothing particularly compelling or distinct about Will. That is, outside of his entitled and clueless demeanor.
To that point, the film attempts to offer some meaningful commentary on privileged millennial shortcomings, but its repeated preaching about the pitfalls of the "everybody wins" generation comes across as sorely misguided. Sure, there's some truth to the script's criticisms about Generation Y work ethic and expectations, but the conclusions it draws and the causes it blames never really gel -- whether interpreted sincerely or as satire. To the movie's credit, however, its examination of job struggles for the older generation works marginally better, and Cranston is definitely the best part of the film... until his arc devolves into deranged stalking as he desperately tries to corner a potential employer. Unfortunately, hilarity does not ensue -- just groans.
Almost completely devoid of wit or originality, 'Get a Job' wastes some potentially interesting subject matter on a bland script with stock characters and recycled, half-realized jokes. That's not to say that the runtime can't be mildly amusing in isolated instances, however. I must admit to cracking a smile and even letting out a brief chuckle or two at a silly "Billy Mays" reference and a ridiculous gag involving a urinal -- but by and large the film's attempts at juvenile comedy and social satire fall flat. Though big fans of the talented cast might want to give this a rent, for most viewers this is one flick that should have probably stayed locked away.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Lionsgate presents 'Get a Job' on Blu-ray in a keepcase with a cardboard slipcover. The BD-25 Region A disc comes packaged with instructions for an UltraViolet digital copy. After some skippable trailers, the disc transitions to a standard menu.
The movie is provided with a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Free from any major technical issues, this is a bright and colorful video presentation.
The digital source is crisp and clean with no notable artifacts or defects. Clarity is strong with sharp fine details, though the generic style and bland office settings don't really lend to traditionally impressive visuals. Likewise, the image does have a comparatively flat quality. Colors are punchy and vibrant without being too saturated, offering pleasing pop. Contrast is well balanced with solid whites and respectable black levels.
As a standard low budget comedy, 'Get a Job' doesn't really offer much to get excited about when it comes to memorable visuals, but the transfer is sharp, vibrant, and technically proficient.
The film is presented with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, along with optional English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles. Generic but effective, the audio gets the job done just fine.
Speech is clear and well prioritized throughout with no balance issues or technical problems. The mix has a solid sense of general ambiance, offering standard background clatter in coffees shops or offices with minor surround use, but the sound design lacks nuance and texture. Likewise, there isn't much in the way of directionality, though key effects like driving cars pan from speaker to speaker when appropriate. A drug-induced montage scene provides a quick jolt of more aggressive audio, and there is some decent LFE and range in a few music tracks.
While the mix is never particularly enveloping or thoughtfully designed, it suits the material well enough with a modest sense of atmosphere and no major issues to report.
'Get a Job' is a forgettable and generic comedy that completely wastes a talented cast. The film's attempts at immature humor and social satire both fall flat, resulting in a thoroughly mediocre experience. On the upside, the disc's modest technical presentation is pretty good, with solid video and audio. Supplements, however, are fluffy and insubstantial. This is a rental at best.