Career Opportunities (1991) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Josie, the daughter of the town's wealthiest businessman, faces problems at home and wishes to leave home, but is disorientated. Her decision is finalized after she falls asleep in a Target dressing room, and awakes to find that she is locked in the store overnight with the janitor, Jim, the town "no hoper" and liar. A decision to go to Los Angeles is established, but first they must get through the night. A relationship develops, only to be interrupted by a break in by two petty criminals.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Jim Dodge sits talking to dogs who he is in charge of temporarily at an animal hospital. We see a gruesome murder scene in Saltburg while Jim tells the dogs he knows that murder in Saltburg is the working of the mob in the Midwest. He also pretends he is going on a date with someone international using his jet that night. He is summarily fired for being lazy. Then there are several scenes where Jim talks to kids in the town and a waitress indicating he is pretending to be an important inventor. Then we see Jim asking for a job from a gas station owner. But the station owner feels Jim is full of crap and indicates the entire town feels the same way about him. Josey McClellend pulls up in her expensive car and gets gas. Jim's father confronts Jim and drags him home because he was fired again. At home Jim is belittled by his whole family for the uncountable number of terminations he suffered. They also discuss Josey McClelland getting fed up with her father and moving to New York. Jim's father secures him an interview at a Target store, but indicates if he does not get tie job he is going to his uncle's shop in Saint Louis. Either way Mr Dodge wants Jim to move out. We then get a taste of Mr McClelland's relationship with his daughter as she pulls a little teasing stunt on two business men he is talking to by kissing one and shaking the other's hand and Mr McClelland later on threatens to beat the living tar out of her. Jim talks to the Target Store Manager and through his charm Jim convinces the Manager to offer him much more money than he actually expected. Jim does not accept the offer and pushes the Manager a few thousand above his offer, which they shake hands on. Then the Manager is called and told the person he thought he was interviewing for the Operations Manager position did not make it. The Manager then offers Jim the night cleanup boy position at a greatly reduced salary, which is the job he came in for. Jim orders a limo to work on his first day and coincidentally Josey goes into the Target store and begins to shoplift out in plain view of everyone. Jim comes into the store and pretends to be the owner for a minute and tells a clerk to fix a tile in the store. Later on Jim meets his supervisor who abuses him verbally and a little bit physically, then indicates he will not be in the store during the night and will lock Jim in. When the door is locked and his supervisor leaves Jim turns all the lights on and has a good time, sampling all of the stores goods. Jim then sees Josey and has a minor accident. She reveals she wanted to get caught shoplifting and get arrested to embarrass her father and leave home ,and therefore, she fell asleep and also is locked in the store. They eat store food and find a little place in the store to sit and relax. They talk and she accidental lets him know he is known around town as the "Town Liar". He shares honest and sad stories of high school while she laments that her life wont get better. At one point he says he likes living at home and she confronts him that he is lying to himself. She eventually makes him see he really does not like living at home. She asks him to run away from home with her. She mentions going to Los Angeles which is a switch of destinations for her. Also, it keeps with the talent these two have, that leads these two to where the movie winds up. She asks how she can make it up to him for being so cold to him in High School, and he surprises her by choosing to finish a dance he had with her in seventh grade. She lets him know she was expecting him to want sex, and was willing to go all the way. However, he is wrapping his mind around these events and says "first things first", which tells her to slow down. She slow dances with him and when he finally gets the nerve to try a kiss, she moves her lips right there for a gentle and lasting kiss. They appear to go further in a tent when an officer comes to the outside of the store. The officer lets Jim know that he, the lone policeman in the town, is searching for Josie McClelland alongside of Josie's father. Josie and Jim roller skate through the store. Their fun is interrupted by the two criminals who murdered someone in Saltburg. Josie and Jim hide, but are captured by the two crooks. At a point when it looks like Josie will be murdered by one of the crooks, Jim jumps into action pretending he is talking to people on the outside, who have guns aimed at the two crooks. He is so convincing a pretender that they give up their guns and lay on the floor. However, these crooks lie about the guns not being loaded and Jim gives them back their loaded guns. Josey then reveals to Jim that she plans to steal the crooks car, (which they stole from someone else earlier) and tells Jim to go along with her. Josies like Jim is very good at pretending, and she flirts with one of the crooks. She eventually has the one crook mesmerized with her pretend interest and she jumps into their car and drives off quickly, while they shoot at her. When Jim hears the car driving off he immediately gets the store shotgun that was locked in the cabinet, and pretending to be scared he uses the store announcement microphone to get the crooks to go to where he wants them. The crooks follow his lure and wind up inches from the barrier of his shotgun as he blasts their hearing away. Josie, knowing that Jim could easily subdue these crooks, happily returns with her bags packed and the stolen car. In the morning the policeman, apparently in answer to a tip, comes into the store to find the crooks tied up with their wanted posters attached. Jim and Josie take a last tour of the town in a limo then go to Hollywood California to try out their pretending/acting talent. The last scene is Jim and Josie by a pool looking at the Hollywood sign which Jim sees as "Jimwood" while Josie laughs.

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