Although I haven't lived through it myself, I'd imagine getting canned from your job isn't, to understate the point, a pleasant experience. In an age where corporations seem to often see no other alternative to saving money than slashing people from the payroll, writer/comedienne Annabelle Gurwitch's wry, occasionally hilarious documentary Fired! is all too timely.
Dismissed from acting in a Woody Allen play (incidentally, Gurwitch's choice of typeface for her credits as well as her soundtrack of vaguely old-time jazz feels like nothing but a big middle finger to the Woodman), Gurwitch was thrown by the experience, disoriented and unsure of what to do next. It was through talking with others that she realized she wasn't alone -- everyone, at one time or another, gets the dreaded pink slip.
She wrote a book (of the same name) first, but Gurwitch's wry, occasionally poignant film puts a human face on what too often is simply another news story; the comedienne meets with a wide range of people -- some famous, some unknown -- to elicit their stories of firings. From Bob Odenkirk and Jeff Garlin to Fred Willard and Ben Stein, Gurwitch finds some truly hilarious tales of downsizing, but also journeys to job fairs and career training seminars to find out how ordinary folks cope with such a sudden life change. By empathetically bridging the funny with the facts, Gurwitch creates a slight, if enjoyable, film that just might cheer you up the next time you find out you've been Fired!.
Shot on video, Fired! is presented in non-anamorphic 1.78:1 widescreen, which, at times, looks a little soft and smeary. Some interviews look crisper than others, but on the whole, it's an acceptable look for the (sometimes) on-the-fly documentary.
Fired! never gets flashy with its soundtrack (cribbing, as it does, from the mellow jazz soundtracks of Woody Allen) so its Dolby 2.0 stereo track is perfectly fine. The lack of subtitles is occasionally frustrating, since the dialogue isn't always 100 percent clear, but overall, this is a fine sonic representation.
The only bonus materials here are 22 outtakes (ranging in length and featuring everyone from David Cross to Jeffrey Ross) and a bonus Jeff Garlin clip.
By empathetically bridging the funny with the facts, Gurwitch creates a slight, if enjoyable, film that just might cheer you up the next time you find out you've been Fired!. Recommended.