As Zack starts to rack up daily gold stars from the store manager, his lousy motives begin changing for the good. Zack's friends are loyal and relatively quick to forgive him after he apologizes for leaving them in the dust to win the competition. Indeed, the value of true friendship is underscored. After unintentionally getting a pal fired, Zack apologizes and takes responsibility for his actions. He also tells Amy he's sorry for his ulterior motives, then thanks her for motivating him to change his ways. (She quickly forgives him.)
Zack's grandmother shares the same forgiving heart, despite the fact that her grandson caused her to lose all of her retirement money. He tries to help her out by inviting her to live with him. Later, she advises him not to rush things with Amy, says the new girl is lucky to go out with him, and encourages him to stay in the competition. Vince's sidekick, Jorge, is willing to help out the master checkout artist despite his ultra-cruel behavior.
A friend tells Zack that "the universe always has a plan," and Zack subsequently treats this empty sentiment as otherworldly wisdom when he decides to finish out the competition for his own pride. While betting for sack lunches with a friend, the box boy calls a double-ham sandwich "almost a spiritual meal." After finding out one of his workers died the previous night, a manager immediately worries about his own condition, then (after abusing the Lord's name) adds, "God and Jesus, rest her soul."
Employee of the Month is obviously a comedy, so the question that has to be asked is: What kind of comedy is it? What themes are unrelentingly mauled for cheap laughs? The answer: gay sex, anal sex, masturbation, child homosexuality and penis size. Several explicit jokes revolve around male and female anatomy. For no apparent reason, one of Zack's vulgar friends has the habit of describing male testicles (including animals'). He and another pal also launch into a raunchy list of all the places Vince has had sex with customers.
The throwaway character Amy apparently serves only one purpose: to provide onscreen cleavage. And lots of it. Many of the other female characters (particularly the fawning women getting "checked out" by Vince) aren't any better. During one scene the strategic placement of a mirror highlights a woman's bust. And as expected, breast jokes accompany the visuals, as do numerous references to having sex. Vince propositions Amy for sex, then kisses her. Amy also locks lips with Zack. Twice we see boxes of condoms.
While hugging an appreciative customer, Vince grabs her backside. Zack's grandmother makes a crude comment about him washing his privates. Amy justifies "screwing the last Employee of the Month" because he was her boyfriend. After stealing Vince's wallet, Zack asks his friends if they want to order some "pizza and hookers." He also cracks a joke about finding the wallet in front of the store's herpes medication.
Zack whacks his head on a forklift. While pursuing a young boy gone wild in the store, he gets hit in the crotch by a tennis ball. Vince eventually ends the pursuit by beaning the kid in the face with a ball. He also tosses a baseball bat behind him, which hits Jorge in the face. Jorge, meanwhile, takes a golf ball to the head, gets shoved into a locker and cracks his cranium after slipping on a checkout counter.
A stock boy falls off a ladder. Vince falls hard while trying to rollerblade, and he gets tackled by a security guard. Riding a mini-motorcycle, Zack weaves in and out of a stream of cars and barely misses a passing truck. He and his nemesis collide while chasing a fly ball during a softball game. We hear the sound of Vince getting shocked by an ankle location device. Zack jokes to a casket-buying customer, "Good luck murdering your husband."
Drug and Alcohol Content
Zack and his friends regularly go out for after-work drinks, and a few times they're shown downing beers (even around children). Wine gets either mentioned or consumed a couple of times, and Zack offers Amy "another box of merlot." A regional manager uncorks a bottle of champagne in celebration after a sporting event.
Other Negative Elements
At Super Club, it's assumed that workers steal from their store. A couple of employees bribe their co-workers with junk food, while others create a hidden "clubhouse" and snack on store food. Zack apparently "borrows" a mini-motorcycle for transportation to and from home. He also treats Amy to a night of fun at the company's expense (and on its grounds). Zack opens a toy for a young boy so he can purchase the item at a reduced cost—and the act is portrayed as heroic.
A racial quip is made regarding Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. Shots are also taken at little people, the overweight and those wheelchair-bound. Vince crudely refers to Amy going to the bathroom, and a couple of characters pass gas (and/or talk about it).
Vince and Jorge break into Zack's house in the middle of the night. The duo wear pantyhose on their heads during the stunt, and it's played for laughs when, after Vince comments about smelling something foul, Jorge reveals that they're unwashed pairs of his mother's.
Among teens, college crowds and blue-collar workers, Dane Cook is huge. In Jerry Seinfeld-like fashion, the 34-year-old comedian sells out entire arenas while turning everyday observations into stand-up material. After working the Boston comedy club circuit in the 1990s, he's gone from local hero to an entire generation's funnyman, thanks to best-selling albums, his own HBO show, a massively successful tour and frequent appearances in both TV series and movies.
But there's a major difference between Seinfeld and Cook. Whereas Seinfeld relied heavily on innuendo rather than explicit material, Cook has no problem dousing his routines with foul language and raunchy content. With Employee of the Month, in which he plays Zack, he had to restrain himself enough to secure a PG-13 rating. But he, along with fellow comics Dax Shepard, Andy Dick and Harland Williams, pushed as hard as they could against that barrier with a barrage of sexual gags, potty humor and raw language.
Despite some decent messages about friendship and loyalty, this dumb-as-it-gets Employee is additionally bogged down with a viewpoint that forces us to root for the lesser of two evils. Between Vince and Zack, we're supposed to side with the "good," down-on-his-luck everyman, even though his lousy morals include treating Super Club like it was his personal closet, pantry, living room and garage.