‘Get a Job’ Employs Top Notch Actors to No Effect

Photo courtesy of Mingle Media TV, Wikipedia

Although it boasts a stellar cast made up of two Academy Award nominees and one winner, “Get a Job” never lives up to their star power. The film, about recent college graduates suddenly thrust into the real world of trying to find jobs, does have a few humorous moments, but there is no depth or heart to the film.

The film stars Miles Teller as Will Davis, and while early in his career he didn’t appear to be much more than a poor man’s Vince Vaughn, spewing charmingly witty remarks a mile a minute in more recent roles like “Whiplash,” he has proven he has some serious acting chops. However, in “Get a Job” Teller seems intent to coast through his performance, relying on his charm while not bringing much else to the table.

Anna Kendrick of “Pitch Perfect” appears as Davis’ girlfriend, Jillian Stewart. While Kendrick is usually a pleasure to watch on screen, in this film she is borderline extraneous: her character is reduced to a collection of out-of-touch clichés. Early in the film, while Davis appears to lack motivation to find a job, Stewart plays the nagging girlfriend, only to find herself crying on his shoulder when she loses her job later in the film. The part is so small; it’s somewhat surprising a star like Kendrick would even take the role.

The film isn’t helped by a complete lack of chemistry between Teller and Kendrick, who would have been more believable as brother and sister than they are as boyfriend and girlfriend.

Other stars grace the screen to varying levels of success: Bryan Cranston plays Roger Davis, Will’s suddenly out-of-work father, but he isn’t given enough interesting material to work with, although he and Teller do play well off of one another. Also getting into the act is Marcia Gay Harden, who is tenacious as Davis’ demanding boss.

The problem with the film isn’t the acting, as much as it is the material. Nothing about “Get a Job” feels new, and in a movie where many of the characters seem to be going through an existential crisis, it’s seriously void of any real drama.

Much like Kendrick’s character, the friends of Davis aren’t given much screen time. Among them are Christopher Mintz-Plasse as the perpetually-stoned Ethan and Nicholas Braun as the perpetually-stoned middle school teacher Charlie. Brandon T. Jackson gets the most attention of the bunch as Luke, a stockbroker who has to drink deer semen to acquire his job. Each friend is given a scene or two of their own, but none of them are that interesting and none really move the story forward, rendering them pointless.   

With its subject material and all-star cast, “Get a Job” could have been a perfect blend of comedy and drama. Instead it delivers little of both, making it frustrating to watch because it has the potential to be so much better.