Perhaps you are familiar with the film Waiting, a Ryan Reynolds comedy about
the restaurant business. That was a low-brow but comically accurate look behind the scenes at
the family-style American chain restaurants like Applebee's, and it focused on
events rather than characterization.
I Really Hate My Job takes on an identical theme - that nobody in the
restaurant business really wants to be there - and does so in an identical
way, by showing one day in the life of a restaurant from opening until closing.
This version has a
bit of a different take than Waiting. It focuses on a trendy little restaurant
in London, and it brings the lives of the staff to the forefront while
the comic mishaps to the rear. Probably too much to the rear.
Oh, the characters seem to be acting in a comedy.
They deliver their lines in a rapid-fire pace with no pauses either within or
between them, as if they were all in a 1930's comedy with Cagney or Kate
Hepburn. And there are comic pratfalls, like a rat infestation and a drunken
waitress who waits on tables naked. But the film generates no real laughter.
Because the scriptwriter placed characterization above cheap laughs, the
ordinary service employees stay in character. They are not stand-up comics.
They are not gag writers. Therefore, their conversations ring of the quotidian
and mundane, and they have neither humorous insights nor Wildean badinage in
their repertoire. In short, it's a comedy without any of that pesky
humor to slow it down.
Two other items of interest:
1. If you enjoy an occasional guilty pleasure in your theater-going
experiences, Neve Campbell is the waitress who gets completely naked, and
she presents her breasts and a full-length rear view at some length in good
light while delivering a stagy, self-absorbed, drunken monologue.
2, I Really Hate My Job was the very last screen appearance made by Barry
Morse, the actor who was well known to baby boomers as Lt. Gerard on the
popular American TV series The Fugitive. You can see him in the frame below,
behind the light. He was 89, and would die before his next birthday.
Since the film is located entirely in the restaurant and only five people
have any significant lines, watching it is like attending a stage play which
focuses all of its energy on the frustrations of five women who are living lives very
different from the ones they once dreamt of. If you are one of the relatively
small number of filmgoers who might be seeking that sort of entertainment, the
film presents its claustrophobic psychological dramedy competently. There are
interesting characters played by a solid cast, and there's a charming musical cameo from Danny Huston
In other words, the film is not without its charms, but is certainly
without any broad appeal.