Tribeca 2022: “Employee of the Month”

Rating: 5 out of 5.

We all get burned out at work and get tired and exhausted. We want our bosses to recognize our effort not just by giving an award, but rather something that has monetary value. A raise is all that some need to feel appreciated. But what do we do when we don’t get it? Some quit for better opportunities because that’s what we should do, isn’t it?

Ines (hilarious Jasmina Douieb) is the personification of hard work, dedication and multitasking. There is nothing she can’t do that would help the company she works for to thrive. Melody (brilliant Laetitia Mampaka) just joined EcoCleanPro and became Ines’ intern. There is a lot for the young lady to learn from her superior. Much more than she can imagine… her duty within a day won’t be just shredding the compromised legal financial papers of the company; but do the actual clean up with Ines, the best cleaner of the company. But this time the job is not to clean up the dust, but to get rid of bodies, overnight, which will be too much for them to carry out.

I don’t personally remember when I laughed this hard in any comedy seen recently. It was absolutely hilarious. First, the film captures toxic masculinity, workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, and even an attempt at unwanted intercourse. It all fits into one film in this brilliant dark comedy where, for each dead person, trust me, you won’t be crying at all. The killings do not occur on purpose but rather accidental and in a pattern that looks more unfortunate instead deserving.

Ines did everything for the company; with a total of two half-days of sick leave over 52 quarters; she thinks that she deserves a raise. She is the company’s legal expert, in charge of customer service, secretarial duties, quality control and human resources. There is nothing she can’t do. And that’s how good she is. However, when she enters her boss, Patrick’s (Peter Van den Begin), office, to summarize and specify the reasons why her salary must be increased, instead of truthfully considering her ask he begins unzipping his pants instead. Trust me, that’s not something he will be able to get away with, and what happens next is definitive proof of that.

That being said, Veronique Jadin’s Employee of the Month is a brilliant take on workplace harassment and how perhaps it should be handled in the cinematic universe. As you watch it, you think an accidental killing will occur only once. But as the story unfolds, such incidents turn out to be so frequent, that you won’t stop laughing throughout the film. Some scenes are too good to be true. But they are, thanks to French humor because only French cinema can tackle serious subject matters in a funny way.

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