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Review: I Really Hate My Job – “A quirky, subverting film”


Synopsis: As the employees at a London restaurant prepare for the arrival of a high-profile Hollywood actor, it quickly becomes apparent that the five women working to make this important meal a success suffer form delusions of grandeur.

We’ve all worked some rubbish jobs in our time (yes, I speak for all people now) and that’s why the writer of I Really Hate My Job, Jennifer Higgle’s words really resonate with me when she speaks about her film on the special features of its upcoming DVD release. “I think when you spend ten years doing a really shitty job you either write a film about it or you shoot yourself.” True dat, lady.

What we can take from Higgle’s observation is that she is: one of us – the trudging average joe – so of course we want to see her film; and that her ten-year stretch in a restaurant must have given her some very funny, quite depressing and totally relatable stories. Here, with I Really Hate My Job she manages to channel those normal stories and her own averageness into a really great script that gives us an indie restaurant-set film for the ages.

Handling the script perfectly is Oliver Parker, who brings the adequate direction that made his films Johnny English Reborn, Dorian Gray and St Trinian’s so satisfactory. The film’s bare and simple aesthetic feel adds to the realness of its restaurant environment and trod-on characters; an antithetical immersion into a world that is typically so glamorously gourmet.

Higgle’s semi-fictional account of the waiting profession was inspired by the women she found herself surrounded by so it’s no surprise that I Really Hate My Job’s ensemble is populated with a range of different and often screwy ladies. Unlike recent American female ensemble films like Bachelorettes and The Other Woman, those who feature here – lead by Neve Campbell and featuring the wholly funny and cute eccentricities of Shirley Henderson, Alexandra Maria Lara and Anna Maxwell Martin – don’t force the film’s humour or dramatic moments, instead playing everything second nature and relaxed – adding to its authenticity.

Some people will undoubtedly draw comparisons between this film and the cult-favourites Waiting or The Slammin’ Salmon, but I Really Hate My Job’s Britishness, narrative rhythm and under-the-radar actresses trump those similar products. This is a quirky, subverting film that is both funny and odd whilst capturing a slice of all-too-real life – and it’s high time that this 2007 treasure was released on DVD for us all to enjoy.

I Really Hate My Job is released on DVD on 22nd September.


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