A Real Job

Kevin Smith used the convenience store he worked in as a backdrop for his first movie, Clerks. Quentin Tarantino used to work in a video store, where he amassed a huge knowledge of all things cinema. Now comes Ana Barredo, who based her movie, A Real Job, on some of her experiences working in a video store. Smith and Tarantino, as everybody knows have gone on to much success, Barredo, who know works at Image Entertainment, may or may not go on to better things. A Real Job was made on a micro-budget, and it shows, but that's not a bad thing. Clerks was made for next to nothing.

It's just that A Real Job can never decide what it wants to be. The attitude in the beginning is partly wink-wink-nudge-nudge as movie references fly left and right. Then, it transforms itself into a romantic comedy, then proceeds to lose much of the comedy. This inconsistency in tone is heightened by Paul Kolsby, who doesn't do a horrible job as John St. Clair, but is not quite passable. John has worked at Videoland for over twenty years, and knows everything about the movies in the store. When he meets Denise (Sharon Repass), everything starts to get better. They really like each other, though her job in marketing intimidates him. Plus, she is hesitant to introduce him to her coworkers, and John gets the impression she is ashamed of his job.

John decides to move up in life. He quits the store, and miraculously finds himself heading working on a project developing a drive-thru ATM-like video machine that will be able to recommend movies based on what a customer rents. This new job takes its toll on the relationship. John finally believes he is what Denise wants him to be, yet he is now distant, and spends little time with her. Moving up the corporate ladder has changed him, and Denise doesn't like this at all. It's easy to see where Barredo is going with this.

Repass does have a nice screen presence, but Kolsby's acting it not that great, especially as a career man. He just does not come off as believable. This is partially due to some bad dialogue. Since the film centers on him, it doesn't make watching A Real Job that much fun. The acting abilities of the supporting cast are all over the place. Barredo would also fare well mixing up her shots a bit. There are far too many shots where the actors look and speak directly into the camera, and this doesn't count the asides to the viewer that Kolsby has. A Real Job is at its best when John and Denise are getting to know each other. There is a spark of warmth to the film, and one gets the feeling that these two people really like each other. Things slowly fall apart after, and Barredo wanted it this way to show the effect of John's job on their relationship. She probably didn't count on it working too well.

Mongoose Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 33 minutes, Not Rated but contains some language, probably a PG-13 or R.

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