“Prime Time” performed by Keith Landry, music by Robert Folk. I do not know why the theme song for a movie called Odd Jobs is called “Prime Time.” Regardless, it’s a fine example of Cetera-influenced 80s theme-work.
There’s also this reoccurring Devo-esque synth theme, also credited to Robert Folk.
“No One’s Safe at Home,” written by Jamie Newman, produced by Paul Newman. I don’t know what to make of this, but it’s a pretty well put together socio-political rap song ala early 80s New York, but I can’t even find a confirmation on who performed it.
Interesting Dated References: Movies being filmed in Pittsburgh.
Best Line: Anything spoken by Richard Dean Anderson portraying the yuppie dildo “Spud.” Seriously, if there’s an enjoyable takeaway to this movie, it’s Anderson’s comedic chops.
Social Context: There was a time in film history when you could take an R-rated script, cut out all the on-screen sex and drugs, then fill all that time with racist jokes and you had a film rated PG-13.
Summary: Odd Jobs opens by introducing us to a group of college buddies: Nervously anal Paul Reiser as Max, level-headed Robert Townshend as Dwight, some guy who is a new wave nerd named Roy, some guy who is good at sex named Woody, and Paul Provenza as Byron the racist.
Via voiceover we hear about the group’s big plans for their summer jobs. While this is going on, there’s on-screen shenanigans relating to the stories. Woody tries his hand at being a waiter, but can’t stop having insinuated sex with the patrons, Townsend and Provenza try their hands at being caddies, Roy sells vacuum cleaners, and Reiser works for a moving company. All of these interludes include a lot of race and sex jokes, which you would find totally hilarious if you were 12 years old and you somehow convinced your older sibling to rent a PG-13 movie for you.
Unfortunately Odd Jobs takes way too fucking long getting where it needs to be. The crux of the movie is about Reiser starting his own moving van company, hiring all his college buddies, battling the local mob-run moving company, and uncovering a huge car-theft ring.
None of that shit happens until the last 15 minutes, though, and we spend six hours watching each character go through meaningless trials at dumb jobs.
– During the opening credits the title “Odd Jobs” is in a totally different typeface and layout than the rest of the credits. I’m willing to bet this movie originally had a different title, probably the nonsensical “Prime Time,” as featured in the theme song.
– Leo Burmester (The Abyss) has an enjoyable turn as a super-redneck trucker who takes Reiser under his wing.
– Don Imus has a cameo as the owner of a vacuum company.
– As mentioned, Richard Dean Anderson is really great as a yuppie dildo who has stolen Reiser’s girlfriend.
– The best example of 80s racism occurs when Reiser and company decide to drum up moving business by making Townsend pose as a black pimp who buys a house in an affluent white neighborhood. When all the whites take flight, Reiser and Co. are there to help move them out. Isn’t that hilarious!?
– The “Body by Jake” guy is in this movie as an Italian stereotype, complete with ever-present meatball sandwich.
Poster and Box Art: I can’t find evidence Odd Jobs ever had a theatrical run. There is a poster for the videocassette release, which looks similar to the Thorn EMI/HBO Video release.
Availability: Pops up on HBO GO fairly often (right now). Otherwise, DVDs on Amazon.