“Get a Job”

I’m not sure what it is about Miles Teller. He’s been in two of my favorite movies of this decade (the underrated “The Spectacular Now” and the unforgettable “Whiplash”), but then he’s been in some of the decade’s worst (“Fant4stic”). Now, he’s in “Get a Job”, which surprisingly isn’t very empathetic.

Teller plays Will, a recent college graduate who’s stunned when he doesn’t get his dream job after graduation. He lands a corporate videographer position, but isn’t very happy there. We also have his overly successful dad who loses his long-term job (Bryan Cranston), Will’s levelheaded girlfriend Jillian (Anna Kendrick), stoner chemistry teacher Charlie (Nicholas Braun), stock broker Luke (Brandon T. Jackson), and their stalker entrepreneur friend Ethan (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). They all share wacky and ultimately unfunny adventures of achieving success in today’s competitive working world.

I didn’t have terribly high hopes for “Get a Job”, but I wanted to at least relate to it. I’m 24, graduated from school three years ago, and I’ve struggled with finding jobs. I was expecting to root for someone who doesn’t irresponsibly spend their graduation money on a large television, and actually tips at a strip club (Will only goes for free food, not expecting to be judged).

Five minutes into “Get a Job”, I pretty much hated every character. Luke is a cartoonish player, who’s put in unrealistic hazing activities that Jordan Belfort wouldn’t even condone. Ethan wants to design an app that allows him to stalk people after receiving their text and location, and sells it? Ugh…

Cranston’s character begins very likable and levelheaded about working, not tolerating Will’s crap for most of the movie. He then proceeds to look for other jobs by stalking the CEO at his dream company and secures a position? Persistence is appreciated in the job force, but not when you’re risking a restraining order.

Will is an entitled brat that we’re supposed to root for, but would you identify with someone who spitefully posts their boss’s sex tape on a projector at a company party? Someone who answers his phone during an interview, and leaves other potential job offers hanging? How in the hell does he still get these jobs?!

We get some semi-entertaining supporting work from Allison Brie and Jorge Garcia as Will’s colorful coworkers, but they’re mostly caricatures. Kendrick’s Jillian is the most empathetic character, who starts out successful, loses her job, and then decides she’s okay with figuring out what she really wants to do. Too bad she doesn’t get enough screen time!

“Get a Job” was shelved for three years, and released on VOD, which isn’t surprising. It’s more of a cautionary tale on how not to act in the real world than a smart commentary on today’s job market.

Grade: D+

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“Fant4stic”

You stylize a title as cheesy as “Fant4stic”, you bet I’m going to refer the movie by that title. The one thing I learned watching “Fant4stic” is that director Josh Trank (“Chronicle” (2012)) is better with less money in his budget.

The premise of “Fant4stic” is simple; five genius kids in either high school or college are enlisted by Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathey from TV’s “Oz” and “House of Cards”) to research teleportation, discovering another planet in the process. You have high school genius Reed Richards (Miles Teller), his best friend Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), Storm’s rebellious son Johnny (Michael B. Jordon) and adopted daughter Sue (Kate Mara), and Storm’s eccentric and arrogant protege Victor Von Doom (Toby Kebbel).

The team are all exposed to the other planet’s fuels, mutating them in the process, which leads them against Victor on Planet Zero. There’s the premise in a nutshell!

What’s irritating about the narrative in “Fant4stic” is that there’s no development or lesson learned by the end of the movie! Ben resents Reed after their mutations, Ben and Johnny form a rivalry, Reed and Sue take a romantic interest in each other, and Reed and Johnny are clearly friends, but none of this is developed or resolved. With a running time of 100 minutes, I wonder if Trank was forced to edit the film and cut out all of the development and back story.

The small amount of development is some of the most half-assed writing in recent memory. Ben and Reed are respectively the brain and heart duo trying to change the world, Victor wants to destroy Earth and go back to Planet Zero because he feels we’re killing Earth (though not wrong there, but that’s a different conversation), and the kids get their powers due to a drunken mishap? Maybe the message of the movie was don’t drink.

As far as acting goes, Miles Teller and Kate Mara both look bored, Jamie Bell overacts as the inept and street smart muscle, Michael B Jordon and Toby Kebbel are good sports on screen, and Reg E. Cathey works well with what he has.

Trank envisioned “Fant4stic” being a blend of Bryan Singer’s “X-Men” movies, Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” (2014), and David Cronenberg’s body horror classics “The Fly” (1986) and “Scanners” (1981). Ambitious idea, yeah, but like I said in my “True Detective” review, execution matters! I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’d rather rewatch the 2005 and 2007 “Fantastic 4” films before I watch “Fant4stic” again.

Grade: F