Not that anybody cares in this era of selling yourself into indentured servitude for a soggy bag of carrots and a dry corner of the doghouse, but a crummy, low-paying job can almost be saved if you've got some good co-workers.
At least until you remember it would be nice to die with enough money to buy one of those "marked" gravestones.
If interesting, cool co-workers can transform a job from deadening to tolerable, it makes sense that a lively workplace will make good entertainment fodder, too.
Unfortunately, 2009's The Slammin' Salmon won't be doing the food service industry any favors.
The waitstaff of The Slammin' Salmon are in for the night of their careers. Restaurateur and ex-boxer Michael Clarke Duncan owes the yakuza $20,000. If he doesn't have the money by the next day, they'll take the restaurant -- and he'll give one of the waiters the beating of their life.
You never see movies about the nitrous-fueled hijinks of dental assistants or the camaraderie-through-battle bonding of the guys who write ad copy for Sears, yet there's a small subgenre of movies about restaurant staffs.
Not that this should come as any great surprise. If you're in a restaurant now, look up: chances are, the waitress or busboy over there has dreams of becoming an actor. Now hang your head in shame, because someone who loves you took you to dinner and you're sitting there reading a newspaper.
So the cast of Broken Lizard, the comedy group behind Super Troopers, no doubt had the right background for The Slammin' Salmon. Or possibly they just go out to eat now and then. Either way, their experience shows in the array of customer archetypes and observational gags about the eating habits of waiters.
But exposing chefs as angry tyrants isn't exactly a revolutionary insight. And the other characters are about as deep as a puddle. Not one of those deep puddles, either. The kind where if you step in it you would not be happy but also wouldn't necessarily have to change your sock. There's a lack of polish to the dialogue, too. The whole thing feels like it needed a rewrite or three.
Still, it's not laughless. Duncan gets some mileage out of his meathead celebrity -- at one point, he parades into the restaurant on horseback -- and whenever the cast is just goofing off together, it's easy to remember why you've liked their other work.
But good comedies have an energy to them that pulls you in by the collar. The Slammin' Salmon lags from its broad jokes to its limp climax.
Here's hoping they return to form the next time out.
* Contact Ed Robertson at firstname.lastname@example.org.