Review: ‘Get a Job’ a fine effort
REVIEW BY BURL BURLINGAME / firstname.lastname@example.org
“Get a Job” is one of those big shaggy dogs of a movie that won’t stop licking your face. It’s so eager to please that it slobbers all over you, and you wind up smiling anyhow.
On the audience’s end, it’s a mixed bag, depending on your capacity for wall-to-wall silliness. But the movie is undeniably funny and, at times, raucously so.
It’s a hell of a better Hawaii comedy than the big-budget Adam Sandler vehicle “Just Go with It” of several months ago. The local filmmakers have a genuine sense of humor, not a manufactured one.
If you’re laughing enough, it doesn’t much matter that the plot is fizzling.
Many of the gags are saved by incisive editing, and “Get a Job” is a textbook example of editing to the strength of the material.
It’s not great, not on traditional movie terms, not even particularly good. But as an example of what the island of Maui could do and can do, in sheer filmmaking technique, it’s a masterpiece. Writer-director Brian Kohne has made a professionally shot, edited and scored film. Everyone involved should add it to their resume.
‘GET A JOB’
7:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the Hawaii Theatre
“Get a Job” is a situation comedy filmed in the style of those shambling preambles you used to see on MTV music videos — you know, where the musicians “act” out a thin story set to the actual music. Here, though, it’s all preamble.
It involves Merton (Eric Gilliom) — the sort of name that exists just to sound funny in pidgin — a ne’er-do-well, cheerfully goofy deadbeat surfer who needs to earn a little money to get his bicycle fixed. He’s aided in this by William (Willie K. Kahaiali’i), an employment counselor whose own life needs some sprucing up.
Merton fails at everything except what he was originally doing — waiting for his wave to come in — and William wises up and marries his girlfriend, because that’s what really matters.
One of the absolute delights is the natural comedic performances of the central cast. The movie is built around Barefoot Natives musicians Gilliom and Willie K, who form an easy rapport in classic comedy-duo style.
Gilliom is the guileless, innocent simpleton (think Stan Laurel or Lou Costello) who manages to make a hash of things even as he tries to do right, and Kahaiali’i as William is the weary, worldly-wise partner with a slow, slow burn (Oliver Hardy, Bud Abbott) who really hasn’t any more of a clue about things than his partner. They are funny together, not so much apart.
Carolyn Omine, known more as a producer and writer on “The Simpsons,” is sweet and attractive as William’s girlfriend, and Augie Tulba as Cousin Bully is an explosion of ferociously hysterical outrage.
“Get a Job” is advertised as featuring quite a few appearances by other entertainers, both local and national, but they are really cameos. Don’t make a drinking game out of spotting Willie Nelson, for example.
Because it neither gets to the heart of the characters nor mines the social context of the situation, “Get a Job” ultimately overstays its welcome by staying fixated on the story’s surface values. It flutters around the edges of the American dream of blissful employment and a pocket full of money, and then darts off nervously.