Magnolia Pictures // 2007 // 90 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // May 6th, 2008
We all say it. She means it.
I Really Hate My Job is the story of a day in the life of five aspiring women who work in a restaurant in London:
* Abbie (Neve Campbell, Wild Things) is an aspiring actress working as a waitress. She's having a bad day because she's turning 30, and the only acting work she's been offered is in the porn industry.
* Alice (Shirley Henderson, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) is an aspiring writer who has just had her novel rejected by a publisher. She's having a bad day because although she is a waitress, she has to replace the cook this evening.
* Rita (Oana Pellea, Children of Men) is a (former?) revolutionary on kitchen duty. The oldest hand at the restaurant, she enjoys using her fiery personality to stir up the other women.
* Suzie (Alexandra Maria Lara, Youth Without Youth) is the placating one of the bunch, and she's feeling embarrassed tonight because she's become involved with a much younger man who has a weight problem.
* Madonna (Anna Maxwell Martin, The Other Man) runs the restaurant, and she's freaking out because the place isn't making as much money as she'd like. To top it off, her significant other has decided to leave her.
The drama for this evening starts early, when the cook bails out, leaving Alice in the kitchen. The other big obstacle for the night is the resident rat, who Rita pursues with a revolutionary's ardor. The night's big event will be the appearance of the actor Danny Huston (30 Days of Night) playing himself. Abbie is a huge fan and can't wait to see him and make an impression. In between all these incidents, the characters discuss their loves, their hates, and the (generally poor) state of their lives.
I Really Hate My Job is a day-in-the-life film in the mold of Clerks. A quote on the box describes it as "Waitress meets The Devil Wears Prada." Not having seen either of those films, I can't comment directly on that analogy, but from what I know of both films, the description is accurate. I Really Hate My Job seeks to be a witty, bitchy look at life in the service industry with some heartfelt drama thrown in for good measure. There are some clever lines and some manufactured pathos, but overall it just falls flat.
The main problem with I Really Hate My Job is really easy to see: why would I want to spend a day-in-the-life of a bunch of people I can't care about? From the get-go, these five women are ridiculously self-centered. So self centered, they each deserve their own film. All five women are wrapped up in the typical troubles of the late-twenties set: money, work, and love. We've heard it all before, but from characters who seemed to have some interest in other people. Suzie shows some genuine spark of interest in her co-workers, but it seems motivated by an ego-stroking need to please. When they do turn their attention from their (self-proclaimed) pathetic lives, it's only to lash out at one another. Sometimes characters seem to be trying to help one another, but more often it seems they're belittling under the guise of advice. Sometimes the emotional battery got hard to watch.
On the plus side, two scenes stand out to make the film worth the time. The first is Abbie's breakdown. She stands, quite naked, and admits that her life is difficult to an entire restaurant full of patrons. Abbie's monologue is very well-written, and Neve Campbell delivers it with conviction. The scene is also notable because she appears in the scene quite topless, something many of her fans have been seeking for a while. The second scene occurs not long after Abbie's breakdown, when Danny Huston appears at the restaurant. He recognizes an old song playing on the stereo and the film fades to black-and-white as he sings along. It's a fun, well-played scene that gives the ending a nice emotional payoff. I'm not sure the film is worth watching just for these scenes, but they were easily the highlight of an otherwise lackluster film.
The DVD doesn't have much to recommend it either. The video isn't very sharp, giving it a low-budget aura. The audio balance is absolutely atrocious. The music comes through loud and clear, but the dialogue is mixed very low. So, even the (few) good lines were difficult to hear. The film is bereft of extras except for a stills gallery featuring production photos. Some context, either in the form of a commentary or documentary, might have increased my appreciation for this movie.
I Really Hate My Job is guilty of wasting acting talent on a bunch of self-centered characters.
Review content copyright © 2008 Gordon Sullivan; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Still Gallery