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Film / Men at Work (1990)

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Men at Work is a 1990 American action comedy thriller film written by, directed by, and co-starring Emilio Estevez.

Carl Taylor (Charlie Sheen) and James St. James (Estevez) are a couple of slacker garbage collectors who dream of one day owning their own surfboard store. Until then, though, all they can do is their job (poorly), get hassled by some local bicycle cops who don't think very highly of them, and spy on a woman in the building across the street from theirs, Susan Wilkins (Leslie Hope). Since they tend to throw the garbage around and aggravate the locals with their noise, their supervisor has placed them on probation and will have his brother-in-law Louis Fedder (Keith David) shadow them for the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, Jack Berger (Darrell Larson), a city councilman who's running for mayor, has had enough of allowing Corrupt Corporate Executive Maxwell Potterdam III (John Getz) to illegally dump the waste from his factory into the bay, and has decided to rat him out, even secretly recording his confession to what he did while they are talking. Naturally, a man like Maxwell doesn't want the public finding out about his actions, so he decides to have some hitmen kill Jack to keep him from talking.


The day after Carl shoots Jack in the rear end with a pellet gun for throttling Susan in her apartment, Carl, James, and Louis find his body in a waste barrel, with Carl and James assuming Carl killed him (until Louis points out the strangle marks on his neck). From there, these two, along with a Pizza Delivery Man they had to abduct too keep him quiet about the body (Dean Cameron), end up embroidered in Jack's and Maxwell's business.

The movie was released on August 24th, 1990.


Men At Work contains examples of:

  • Bound and Gagged: The Pizza Delivery Guy spends much of the film tied up with stuff in his mouth to keep him from telling others about Carl, James, and Louis having a dead body.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Maxwell Potterdam III, who's been illegally dumping waste into the water for some time, and kills Jack so he doesn't squeal on his operation.
  • Left Hanging: At the end of the movie, Potterdam has been put through a Humiliation Conga by the protagonists... and then it fades to black, and we don't really find out if his actions were exposed, or the aftermath of the events of the movie.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: When Officer Mike and his partner pass by Carl, James, and Louis, the three of them put a hat over Jack's eyes and puppets his corpse while making up a story about why he's with them. The two cops buy the story.
  • Scary Black Man: Louis Fedder. The guy's a Vietnam war vet, so he's seen and done things that aren't good for one's psyche.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Louis was in 'Nam, and it has left a mark on him.
  • Shot in the Ass: Carl shoots Jack in the butt with a pellet gun, which renders him unable to stand.