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By Chad Bixby | January 20, 2004

David Wells (Dillon) is having a bad day. Or so he indicates in the dull and virtually non-stop inner monologue that serves as narration in “Employee of the Month.” He’s been fired from his bank job and things get progressively worse from there. Things are so bad, he’s turned to his sleazy friend Jack (Zahn) for advice and comfort in this time of personal upheaval.

Zahn plays Steve Zahn only with a beard. In other words…he’s funnier when he had this exact role in “Happy Texas,” “Out of Sight” and every other film he’s done dating back to “Reality Bites.” I have to admit though, his shtick is still pretty funny and it’s the only saving grace in this un-funny comedy caper. But be warned Zahn, we’re onto you duuuude. Insert wacky, jerky head move with bugged eyes here.

I won’t dwell on the fact that the script for “Employee of the Month” is contrived, mean spirited and way too talky. I’ll leave those scraps for other, more sensitive people to pick at. No, my issue with this stinker is the fact that it’s just not very funny. Furthermore, every freaking person has a monologue! Talk, talk and more talk.

Dillon’s character gives us the aforementioned “inner-monologue.” Zahn gives us a men –vs- women monologue that seems like it was left on the trash heap from a Kevin Smith movie. Then, the “plot” becomes totally convoluted and twisted. It’s as if someone told writers Mitch Rouse and Jay Leggett they needed more action so they threw some into the script.

This review sounds mean spirited, and maybe it is. But truth be told, I think Mitch Rouse is a really funny guy. He’s responsible for the Comedy Central show “Strangers With Candy.” I also like the casting of this film. Yet when it’s all said and done, the un-funny and trying-too-hard script make for a painful exercise in what could have been.

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