If I had to have a newly appointed Boss from Hell in a regional office of market research for a chain grocery corporation who starts off her tenure with a symbolic firing, makes the company Halloween party costume mandatory, comes to said masquerade dressed as Pocahontas (or someone), sexually harasses the male staff, and plays favorites with you if you went to a good school, then given the choice I would just as soon that it be Parker Posey.

She is certainly the main reason to see PRICE CHECK. Which isn’t to deny that, even without her, the movie isn’t half bad as a portrait of the sorry career options people have in the current economy, and reminds us that it’s not just due to hard times, but reflects certain predilections of the culture. There’s some pretty sharp satire of the self-absorbed, ego-driven and ironically conformist basis for decision-making that characterizes all too many large organizations, corporate or otherwise: Edward Herrmann has a great turn as the company’s congenially puffed up and ineffectual CEO.

I liked the rest of the cast too, including Eric Mabius as the hapless employee who is targeted for advancement by Posey, and found Annie Parisse as his wife, whom the newcomer befriends and seems to envy, to be especially appealing. But it is Posey, wickedly smart, with her sudden exasperated slouches, impish flashes of seductiveness, knowing bites of the lip, wild swings between ecstasy and despair, for whom the movie was made, or may as well have been. The spiritual wasteland of the contemporary organization should be of great social concern, but seeing her lay even greater waste to it couldn’t be more entertaining.

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