- Movie Rating -

Take This Job and Shove It (1981)

| April 24, 1981

I more or less thought I knew the kind of movie that Take This Job and Shove It was promising; a slack jawed, halfwit good old boy comedy with lots of rustic denim mixed with southern accents, pick-up trucks, country music and trips to the local watering hole.  The one with the mechanical bull occupying the corner.

Those things are in this movie but it’s much more than just an Animal House-style retread south of the Mason Dixon line.  What has been billed as a rowdy comedy is actually a low-key drama that details the life of a mid-functioning businessman (Robert Hays) who has left his hometown of Debuque, Iowa and made his way to Madison Avenue.  The larger conglomerate of course want to condense their homegrown brewery and try to squeeze if for profit potential.  This is a problem for Hays’ Frank Macklin who grew up in Dubuque and knows many of the factory workers personally; this is problematic, of course, because he has been charged with turning up the profits using some cost-cutting measures that put a strain on long-standing relationships.

What is most surprising about this movie is that it owes its textures more to working-class dramas like Silkwood and Norma Rae than to the promised retreads of Smokey and the Bandit and Hooper.  Director Gus Trikonis lets the movie breathe with a kind of down-home atmosphere and the screenplay by Barry Schneider lets the characters be human beings, not just pawns trapped in easy comedy.

I liked Take This Job and Shove It a lot for what it is than what it should be.  This is a deeper film than I expected, not perfect but a lot more thoughtful and insightful into the daily lives of the American worker than it really has any reason to be.  It’s a surprise and I liked it a lot.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1981) View IMDB Filed in: Uncategorized