Monday, May 16, 2011

'Entry Level' is a well-tuned comedy

Entry Level (2007)
Starring: D.B. Sweeney, Missi Pyle, Kurtwood Smith, Cedric Yarbrough, Taylor Negron, Dan Southworth, and Steve Ryan
Director: Douglas Horn
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Frustrated over the failure of his restraunt, Clay (Sweeney) decides to abandon his career as a chef and start over in the workforce. But can a man whose pushing 40 really start over again at the bottom?

"Entry Level" is an excellent comedy that satirizes the interview and hiring processes at large companies and the American Employment Security system while delivering a well-stated message about the importance of finding one's talent and sticking with that throughout life, particularly if one enjoys doing whatever it is the talent is.

"Entry Level" is a character-driven comedy that has as its prime focus the above-mentioned Clay (who is in search of a fresh start, but who continues to prepare gourmet meals, only now he's making deliciously creative sandwiches for his fellow job-seekers) and the fellow unemployed people he befriends while making the rounds from job interview to job interview. The sandwiches are one of the film's funniest running jokes, as well as the plot element that leads to the film predictable but still very satisfying happy ending.

For most part, the film draws its comedy from absurd but-all-too-realistic-seeming situations in corporate waiting rooms and job interviews, remaining mostly low-key. It strays into two bouts of over-the-top, comic excess that feel like they might be comedy sketches and out of place in the overall movie. One of these--where Clay triggers a burned-out HR executive to flame out and quit his job in a rather spectacular fashion--the film recovers from because a new character gets added to the story as a result, while the other--featuring the worst job interview from the worst possible boss ever--feels out of place and, while funny, ends up detracting more from the movie than strengthening it.

However, even those two scenes I feel don't quite match the rest of the film's tone, are very well done. The film has an excellent script with great dialogue and well-honed jokes, giving its cast of very talented actors the material they need to shine in every shot.

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