New Guy (2003)

DVD Cover (Vanguard Cinema)
Bilge Ebiri Bilge Ebiri
Kelly Miller Kelly Miller
Scott Janes Scott Janes
Jonathan Uffelman Jonathan Uffelman
Johnny Ray Johnny Ray
Tobi-Lyn Byers Tobi-Lyn Byers

5.5 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Comedy Drama, Thriller, Workplace Comedy
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Review by Chad
Added: January 06, 2006
Gregg (Kelly Miller) has just been hired at a corporate headquarters where he will perform mundane office work amidst a sea of cubicles. Upon arriving at his cubicle, he finds a sea of post-it notes... and when I say "sea", I'm not exaggerating. The walls of the cubicle, the desk, the chair, and even the computer monitor are covered in these little yellow pieces of paper, and upon reading a few of them, Gregg finds out two things: one being that Frank, the guy that worked in this cubicle before Gregg, was very obsessive over his work... and the other being that he didn't care too much for the other people working at this place. A bit put off by this, Gregg trudges through a days work, and along the way, he meets coworkers Jim (Scott Janes) and Justin (Jonathan Uffelman) who fill him in on some of the back-story behind Frank's departure from the company. As it turns out, the company is going through some budgetary concerns and was forced to lay some people off a while back. Frank, upon seeing a new intern being hired, became convinced that this intern was being hired to replace him after he was laid off down the line, so he did what any sensible person would do... he picked up his industrial-sized stapler and bashed this prospective employee's head in, right there in the office. Needless to say, a replacement was indeed needed for ol' Frank, and that replacement is the timid, worry-wart of a man known as Gregg.

See, Gregg worries about the little things in life way too much, and he's also quite the paranoid fellow. He becomes convinced that Frank is going to break out of the mental hospital where he's being kept and return to this office to pick off whomever replaced him, and not even an upcoming date with the ultra-hot Susan (Tobi-Lyn Byers) can take his mind off of things. When closing time rolls around for the office workers, Gregg gets stuck with some last-minute work to catch up on, and when he finally goes to leave, he finds out that he can't get out of the building thanks to the key-card system that the building uses. Being the new guy, he hasn't received his card yet... and to make matters worse, Gregg finds out that he's the only employee left in this building, and to top everything off, he also finds out that someone is stalking him inside this securely-locked building.

Imagine combining the infamous Office Space with an episode of Tales From The Crypt, mix in a bit of the thriller genre, and you'd wind up with something along the lines of this movie. It starts off as a pure comedy that follows the same general rules of Office Space; bosses are assholes, coworkers generally suck, and anything that can go wrong will go wrong. The comedy is a bit darker here, but those of you who either enjoyed Office Space or have worked in an office setting will definitely get more than a few chuckles from the misfortunes of poor Gregg. After the characters have been sufficiently developed and we've got a good feel for the stress-level of our hero, things take a turn towards the bizarre. At this point, we wind up with a damned fine paranoid thriller which, without spoiling things, also incorporates some elements of something you'd expect from Tales From The Crypt. It's definitely a bizarre mixture of genres, but I found that it worked out very nicely in this film.

There's a flurry of great ideas and scenes to be found throughout this movie, and it quickly becomes obvious that fellow film-critic and first-time director Bilge Ebiri has an eye for what works and what doesn't. The jokes are subtle yet funny, the thriller aspect of things is actually thrilling, and the ending... well, I won't even touch that here, but it's definitely not what you'd expect. I enjoyed it, but some readers may be put off by it, and that's all I'm going to say about it. As mentioned, there's some really neat ideas floating around in this movie; look for the ingenious usage of a coffee-pot as a weapon near the midpoint of the movie for one example. Another takes place just a few scenes prior to this weapon creation when Gregg finally snaps under the stress of this rather eventful night and unintentionally takes it out on Susan via cell-phone. Again, I won't spoil it, but I haven't laughed so hard at a scene in months. The events themselves were funny enough, but the way that things were shot, the facial expressions, and the camera-work involved to show both sides of the situation made things ten times better. This is a running trait throughout the movie, and I personally can't wait to see what Ebiri comes up with for his second film.

If you can handle an artsy ending with your comedy-thriller, give this one a blind purchase and thank me later. As I've mentioned, the mixing of the comedy, horror and thriller genres into one film isn't something I would have expected to work out, but damned if this movie wasn't one of the most entertaining eighty minutes of the last couple of months. 9/10.
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Christopher #1: Christopher - added 02/08/2006, 08:14 PM
The first fifty minutes of the film was your dull horror movie. "Someone's trapped in a room with a maniac running around! Oh nos!" Then came out an ending that arose way too many questions. The comedy part of the film was not at all comedic. It seemed Bilge was trying a bit too hard.
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