If you want to make a boss-from-hell comedy that’s truly tasty, like Swimming With Sharks or Horrible Bosses, it’s not enough to have the overseer in question come off as a jerky, autocratic dirtbag. The bad behavior has to express a bit of the flavor of contemporary life. In Price Check, an Office Space for middle managers, Parker Posey plays a revved-up, treacherously insincere climber who is brought in to run the regional Long Island office of a third-rate supermarket chain. Standing in front of the conference table, she treats her underlings as if they were truly beneath her, but that’s not what makes the character so arrestingly noxious. It’s how she talks — and even thinks — in advanced corporate jargon, brandishing strategic data as if it were scripture, even as she’s trying to show the workers that she’s ”on their side” in a way that’s every bit as market-tested.
Posey, her attention divided up into slivers, is funny as hell, but she’s also terrifying in her evocation of a kind of moment-to-moment PowerPoint existence. Price Check, written and directed by Michael Walker, is Posey’s show, but the film is built around Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty) as a nice family guy who becomes her confidant, office lieutenant, and lover, all as a way of holding on to his job by his fingernails. As the movie deftly captures, the most hellish thing about having a boss like this one is what you’ll do to stay on her good side. (Also available on VOD, iTunes, Amazon, and elsewhere) B+