I have to admit that after about 20 minutes of this movie I was this close to just turning it off and moving on to The Grudge, which I watched right afterwards. Man, I'm glad I didn't, though, because this movie goes from pretty boring to not so bad to pretty good to VERY good. It's odd that this film has been so completely overlooked by critics and denounced by IMDb reviewers, who either understood how well-made this movie is (especially the script, which is brilliant) or it went completely over their heads and they couldn't wait to log on and berate the film as a total failure.
One reviewer calls the movie "the dregs," but then again this genius also gave Memento (probably one of the three best films released in 2000) a vote of 3/10, so utter cluelessness coming from this person is hardly lightning out of a clear sky for unexpectedness. Another user gave it a lukewarm response, but also called Lost In Translation a real yawner, American History X "waaaaaaaay overrated," A.I. "the most boring movie I've ever slept through," and the absolutely ridiculous 2003 Texas Chainsaw remake "one of the better slasher flicks" (!!).
Now, I hesitate to call this last user clueless, because he really seems like a nice guy (I'm sure he's a good father as well), but his list of reviews betrays the fact that he may be wired completely backwards when it comes to movies. The Texas Chainsaw remake better than A.I., Lost in Translation, and American History X?? PLEASE.
Now, I normally don't go on this much about what other people have to say about any given movie. Notice that I'm not getting into the two external reviews posted for the film (Scott Weinberg and Movie House Commentary, at the time of this writing), which is amazing because they are both so completely wrong that it's difficult not to elaborate on my incredulous disbelief.
It's sad that when a movie comes along that is actually well-written, so many people can't resist comparing it to a similar film that came out previously, completely ignoring the new film's good qualities and simply writing it off as a rip-off. This happened a lot with the wonderful comedy Runaway Bride, about which so many people immediately said things like "You know, I've seen this movie before...When it was called Pretty Woman" like it just absolutely must make them the cleverest person on earth. Personally, when I see a movie that looks stupid but turns out to be a very well-made thriller (like Wild Things), I don't generally complain when a similar movie comes along, as long as it is also well-made and stands on its own, and Employee of the Month certainly does that.
There are scenes in the movie that I thoroughly disliked, such as some stupid sex jokes, too much profanity, and anything involving dead people and jewelry, but Steve Zahn is great in his role, Matt Dillon gives a wonderful performance in a well-written character, and the plot twists start small and then get faster and faster and by the time they're done you're halfway through the end credits.
People are really quick to criticize the twists in this movie. The twists are either too predictable or too unpredictable or there are too many of them or they're dumb or some other such nonsense. When the twists first started I was impressed by where the movie was going, because I thought it was going to be something completely different, but by the last one the movie had made very clear that many of the twists were done with tongue firmly in cheek, that you were meant to have a good time. This movie is all in good fun, and while it slips up by getting a little too vulgar for its own good from time to time, it most definitely deserves to be compared to Office Space, because it is certainly one of the great dark comedies.