By Eric Campos | March 5, 2002

Never thought I’d see the day that this would happen – a Clerks-like movie getting such high marks from myself, but there it is. “Now Hiring” made me reassess my whole stance on the post Clerks syndrome that many indie comedies get caught up in these days. I see now that it’s not that there’s simply so many of them, it’s that maybe only a small handful of them are worth anything at all. Most of these films try to make up for shitty stories and even shittier characters and dialogue by blasting the audience with pop culture references ’till you wanna puke. Right when “Now Hiring” began, I got BUMMED! It immediately starts off with a couple of guys gabbing about movies while changing letters on a marquee. Christ, this whole thing is gonna take place at a movie theater, I thought to myself. I couldn’t help but punch myself in the balls several times as I realized that I was about to waste the next hour and a half, watching yet another film drowning in pop culture awareness. Well, I was right about the movie theater setting, but I was wrong to think that “Now Hiring” was going to be a waste. In fact, I laughed my a*s throughout the whole thing. Of course, that didn’t do much to help my aching balls. Boy, am I a dummy.
“Now Hiring” has its audience hang out with the interesting, sometimes twisted, sometimes dangerous staff of a movie theater. The film begins with on camera interviews of the various employees. In “Spinal Tap” or “Best of Show” fashion, they explain themselves as we’re shown candid instances of them on the job. We have the cool-natured manager who’s been working this dead end job for way too long, the goofy day manager who gets pushed around by the other employees, an usher with a violent hatred towards people that talk during a movie, the box-office woman who believes that aliens are after her, the catty concession stand girls, a couple of multi-purpose movie buffs and unfortunately a stoner, Jay (Silent Bob’s buddy) type character. Even though this guy has a couple of funny lines, he’s the weak link of the entire film. I realize that the filmmakers were inspired by “Clerks”, but plagiarism is wrong.
Fortunately, the film doesn’t carry on with this interview format. The camera becomes invisible and we get to watch the working lives of these highly entertaining characters. The Clerks influence is strong at times, but there’s quite a bit more going on here than just a couple of dickheads sitting behind a liquor store counter, bitching and moaning at each other. In “Now Hiring”, there’s a lot more characters to bounce back and forth between – characters that are significantly different from one another. I like Kevin Smith’s films, but his writing and directing style winds up making most of his characters sound exactly the same, like they all fell out of the same p***y or something. This is not a problem in “Now Hiring” and for that merit alone, gives the film higher rewatchability* than Clerks.
“Now Hiring” is about all the different characters and the catastrophes they wrangle up, not the guy behind the camera with a head full of pop culture. The dialogue isn’t as cleverly written as Clerks, but that’s okay because Clerks is more like a stand-up comedy routine. A couple of guys sitting around moaning at each other better be goddamned funny or that’s the end of the film. “Now Hiring” on the other hand is more of an adventure confined to a tiny movie theater. A highly entertaining and funny adventure at that. See how happy the little Film Threat guy is at the top of the review? That’s how happy “Now Hiring” made me.
*Rewatchability is a word… and red is a fruit.

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