Get our free newsletter
Jessica Simpson is not, improbably, the most dreadful thing about Employee of the Month. That would be her pimp daddy. Joe Simpson, the pop singer’s manager/father, helped produce the comedy, ensuring that all of his daughter’s talents—whoops, I mean boobs—are showcased. Really, Jessica’s cleavage is her only contribution to the movie, which takes place in the insular world of Super Club, a Costco rip-off that sells everything from tubs of hair gel to discount coffins. There’s already resentment between Zack (Dane Cook), a lazy-but-personable box boy, and Vince (Dax Shepard), a showoff, by-the-rules cashier who’s been named employee of the month 17 times in a row. So when the bosomy Amy (Simpson) transfers from another store—and is rumored to have done so because of her tendency to sleep with EOTMs—Zack becomes more determined to crush Vince by taking over the title. OK, so Simpson’s character is essential to kick off the story (co-written by the director, Greg Coolidge, Don Calame, and Chris Conroy, none of whom have any substantial credits), but after that point, she might as well be a blow-up doll. The movie, which is actually pretty funny around the edges, mostly sinks when either of the guys is around her, leaving a big chunk of its middle a snooze. Happily, the scripters have an Office Space/40-Year-Old Virgin sense of humor, meaning jokes run the gamut from dirty (“You’re the balls. You’re the balls and the taint. You’re the whole region!”—a compliment, if you can’t tell), to silly (“You’re like the drummer from REO Speedwagon—no one knows who you are”), to subtle (two characters are named Glen Gary and Glen Ross). The usually annoying Cook is likable, especially when his Zack is shown treating his live-in grandma like gold; Shepard is typically dry, though he gives Vince a goofy arrogance. Lesser characters add more humor, such as Andy Dick’s blind-as-hell optometrist who steals the spotlight with his own giant pair…of Coke-bottle glasses.