July 13, 2023

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH Comes with Benefits

2021 / 78 min
Review by Fluffy the Fearless😺

Don’t confuse this one for an insipid Dane Cook film with the same title (made back when people still cared about him). That cinema suppository isn’t even in the same league as this 2023 Belgian black comedy, which is as funny as it is timely. I think a hostile work environment is something many of us can relate to.

Inés (Jasmina Douleb) is a middle-age female employee of a cleaning supply company. Despite being the only one who appears to take her duties seriously (to an almost obsessive degree), she’s regularly marginalized by an indifferent boss and misogynist co-workers. They’re more concerned that she keeps the coffee brewing and bathroom stocked with toilet paper than the clerical duties which keep the business running smoothly. And of course, Inés is paid less than everyone else.

The tragic results of switching to decaf.
So she finally gathers the courage to ask her boss, Patrick (Peter Van den Begin) for a long-overdue raise. But not-only does he basically laugh it off, he has the nerve to hit on her while she’s in his office. Then when first-day intern Mélody (Laetitia Mamppaka) suddenly bursts in, Peter ends up impaled on one of his own company trophies. Since Mélody was also immediately regulated to menial taskss and witnessed his demeaning harassment towards Inés, she becomes complicit by helping dispose of the body.

But either accidentally or on purpose, things grow increasingly complicated as an amusing chain of events results in other co-workers being killed (all of whom kind-of deserve it). Employee of the Month presents its themes pretty broadly - there’s absolutely no mistaking who we’re expected to root for - but the narrative is cleverly conceived, with many laugh-out-loud moments and a couple of engaging protagonists.

Despite the subject matter (as well a bit of gory violence), Employee of the Month maintains a playfully satiric tone and comes to a satisfying conclusion. It’s a highly enjoyable, fast-paced film that confronts such workplace issues as sexism, harassment and equity in ways we can only fantasize about.

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