The worst part of grocery shopping: “Welcome to Meijer! I’m so glad that you’re here!” If you’re lucky, there will be another shopper ahead of you to be used as a human shield from the cheery death rays of an overenthusiastic greeter. If you’re not lucky, run like hell to the cart corral with your head ducked down.

Morgan Morel
If “Saturday Night Fever” was shot at Meijer . (Courtesy of Lionsgate)

It’s not that the greeting itself is bad – it’s just that it’s not genuine. The same can be said of hapless Super Club workers of “Employee of the Month,” bright-blue vests and all.

Zack (Dane Cook, “Waiting”) is a lowly box boy who has perfected the art of slacking off while on the clock. With his trusty band of lackeys, Zack contentedly spends his days puttering around Super Club and avoiding all forms of work. His life is predictably thrown into a tailspin when he becomes completely smitten with what can only be the looks of the newest cashier, Amy (Jessica Simpson, “The Dukes of Hazzard”).

Problem is, the slick, blond-haired, blue-eyed “alpha male” and head Super Club cashier, Vince (Dax Shepard, “Zathura”), feels the same way. A vicious battle ensues to see who can collect enough gold stars (“Super Mario,” anyone?) to win the employee-of-the-month award and, consequently, Amy’s heart. Will this prize beat out management’s incentive of a “new-ish Chevy Malibu?” Only time will tell.

Just like the majority of its characters, the film is firmly mediocre. Zack’s love for Amy seems cemented in the fact that they tend to say the same thing at the same time. Obviously, this is meant to be cute, but Amy actually just suffers from a limited vocabulary. Thankfully, her breasts valiantly fight to compensate.

Vince requires a different form of support. His constant companion is Jorge (Efren Ramirez, “Napoleon Dynamite”), a dim-witted-but-faithful bagger with whom he shares a strange love-hate relationship ranging from mildly racist to slightly homoerotic. While Vince validates his existence with his record checkout times, Jorge just really has a thing for Vince’s ’81 Honda. Neither character warrants the audience’s concern.

In fact, the only thing that truly works for the film is its location. Super Club’s warehouse atmosphere provides a conveniently familiar setting for sequences pitting Zach against Vince, such as when the two race to get a box of bunion cushions off the top shelf. The store’s various sections are also creatively used to become anything from a hidden clubhouse to a full-blown date that includes dinner, a movie and golf.

But even these unique spaces fail to make the film memorable. And for this, blame Cook for his absolute failure to make the character of Zack his own. In short, he simply doesn’t do what John Heder’s moronic monotone did for “Napoleon Dynamite.” Consequently, instead of the sharp delivery of an experienced funnyman, all his performance leaves us with is the aftertaste of stale popcorn and the whimper of a second-rate comedy.

Star Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Employee of the Month
At the Showcase amd Quality 16
Lionsgate

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