American Job

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American Job
American Job.jpg
Randy Russell, right, in American Job
Directed by Chris Smith
Produced by Chris Smith
Written by Doug Ruschaupt
Randy Russell
Chris Smith
Starring Randy Russell
Cinematography Chris Smith
Edited by Sarah Price
Chris Smith
Distributed by Bluemark Productions
Release dates
January 22, 1996[1]
Running time
90 min.
Country USA
Language English

American Job is a 1996 independent film directed by Chris Smith. Shot in a satirical pseudo-documentary style, the film follows Randy, a young man living in a Midwestern US town, as he tries one mundane job after another, including monitoring a machine at a plastics factory, working as a clean-up person at a fast-food restaurant, cleaning motels, and becoming a telephone solicitor.[2]

The film was directly inspired by the 1987 magazine "American Job" created by Randy Russell, which was a collection of job stories from low-wage workers around the United States.[3][4] American Job was produced by Chris Smith, edited by Sarah Price and Chris Smith, and written by Doug Ruschaupt, Randy Russell, and Chris Smith.[5]


American Job is a narrative film about Randy Scott (Randy Russell), a youth caught in the dismal confusion of living and working in the world of minimum wage. The film follows Randy through a number of low-paying, menial jobs including fast food dishwasher, custodian, telemarketer, and factory worker. It highlights the sheer boredom of minimum wage work and is a slightly comical and occasionally depressing look at what life is like in the US minimum wage arena.[6]

Awards and reception[edit]

In 1996, the film was part of a roving national exhibition as part of the Fuel Tour. It screened in 1996 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as part of the museum's Cineprobe series, and was also screened at the 1996 SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas.[4][7] It has received positive reviews by various media outlets.[8] Nicolas Rapold of The New York Sun called it "Easily one of the decade's best indie debuts" and likened it to Mike Judge's workplace comedy Office Space.[4] The film also garnered director Chris Smith with a 1997 Independent Spirit Award nomination for the "Someone To Watch" Award.[9]


American Job was filmed in 1995 in the midwestern United States for $14,000 (USD). It was director Chris Smith's first film.[4][7]