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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Office Space (1999)


Life in a cubicle.

Overwhelmed by stress on the job, Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) goes in for therapy and comes out with a life-changing career philosophy: work sucks. Eager to begin a new life of unemployment, he decides to spend more time with his sexy girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston) and less time at he office.

Everybody, at one time or another, has hated getting up early, getting stuck in traffic, and going to work where they stay from 9 to 5. It’s all so monotonous and pretty much anybody who has ever worked a day in their life can say that they can easily relate to a premise like this, and I can as well even though I’m not much of a big worker. Thank God for that!

Writer/director Mike Judge is a dude that can be very funny mainly because of how he is able to make a satire about regular, every-day life and this time chooses something we all know a lot about: work. The satire here is that this company, Initech, are pretty much a joke in and of themselves. For anybody that has ever worked a job, whether you were in a cubicle or not, you can still probably go “Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about bitch!” when Peter starts to over-sleep and miss work or when him and his pals go out to destroy the officer copier. Regardless of what sort of jobs you have done in your life, shitty or non-shitty, it’s still something that everybody can relate to and laugh at.

A lot of this film is very, very quotable and funny without even really being lewd or raunchy. So many comedies in today’s world are pretty much based on how funny they can place the word “fuck” in thier lines, but here, it’s all about Judge’s writing and how he is pretty much able to make painful observations on life. Everything you would expect a job like this to be, it exactly that: hell. Very simple piece of comedy with a couple of running gags here and there, and a nice feel of satire to make you realize that work really does suck. Then that’s when you wake up and realize that yeah, it does suck but it’s what pays the bills so I’m gonna go anyway. Sucks to say but true.

Problem is with a lot of this flick is that as funny and biting as its satire may be, something happens to it in the middle where we lost a lot of what really had me going for the first couple of acts. When Peter was walking into work late and not really giving a shit about anything and telling his higher-ups that, I thought it was awesome because it’s something we would all love to do but have no balls to do so. However, there’s a middle patch where the flick starts to show Peter in a rut, where he may be getting put in jail and we see this film go into more of a farce rather than a satire. Sometimes, farces aren’t so bad but here, it was sort of a disappointment considering everything else was working so well.

That was a strange problem I had with the flick, as well as noticing that a lot of the laughs weren’t really coming up all that much, probably because they start to focus on the plot. The plot isn’t so terrible, but it starts to get really thin and rather than focusing on the stuff that mostly worked and made me laugh, like all of the office scenarios and incidents, they try to go with this semi-crime caper of a movie that doesn’t really keep you interested or laughing. However, you got to give a lot of love to Judge for actually pulling something off like this and being one of the first people to do it too.

Ron Livingston lives it up here as Peter and basically gives this guy the cool, laid-back persona where you know that if you were to see this guy on the street, you would give him a huge high-five just for being so cool; Gary Cole is pretty much awesome as everybody’s worst nightmare of a boss, Lumbergh; David Herman is funny as hell as Michael Bolton, no not that one but trust me, they do bring it up enough times here; Jennifer Aniston is great in a very young role from her as Peter’s lovey-dovey girlfriend, Joanna; and how could I ever forget the hilarious Stephen Root as Milton, aka a dude who should have been and should still be the spokesperson for Swingline staplers because honestly, imagine how much business that would do for them. It’s great to see a cast with a bunch of unknowns that can all do awesome in their own roles, but now they pretty much can’t escape the roles they all play here, with the exception of Aniston of course. May not be the worst thing in the world really, but then again, it would get old real quick if people were just coming up to you saying “Aren’t you that dude from Office Space?”.

Consensus: Office Space may not have the best plot out there, but it still a comedy that works mainly because of its satire of middle-class, blue-collar America with hilarious one-liners, and pitch-perfect observations from the master, Mike Judge. Definitely gets better if you have ever worked a job in your life too.

8/10=Matinee!!

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23 responses to “Office Space (1999)

  1. Evan Crean September 15, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    This is definitely my favorite Mike Judge project to date. Twisted and hilarious, in ways it’s so true that it’s scary. I constantly find myself quoting it during my time in the working world. Especially the line “So, what exactly do ya do here?” Agreed that its plot is a bit meandering with the drama involving jail time, but I think it helps bring Peter to a resolution about the direction his life should take. So sad that you didn’t give any love to Diedrich Bader as the neighbor Lawrence. He has some of the movie’s funniest lines.

  2. Dave Enkosky September 15, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    This movie used to leave me roaring with laughter. Now that I’ve been working in offices for years, this movie makes me sad. It’s too spot on.

  3. Lisa (@thatblogchick) September 16, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Thanks for reviewing this one and in turn reminding me to watch it again… just as soon as I’ve added some more flare to my vest :)

  4. Rodney Twelftree September 16, 2012 at 10:45 am

    This film is pure genius. How it’s not more widely known is beyond my comprehension. Thanks to bringing it to the forefront once again, Dan!

    Which reminds me, I must get around to reviewing this one myself soon…

  5. Jaina September 16, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    One of my favourite funny films! I have to watch it if I ever see it pop up on TV. Milton is fantastic. Steals the show whenever he’s onscreen!

  6. Chip September 17, 2012 at 12:12 am

    “You’ve been missing a lot of work lately.” “I wouldn’t exactly say I’ve been *missing* it, Bob.”

    I’ve worked in IT for a long time, so this film was even more spot on for me. All the Y2K references, the plan to siphon the rounded off cents, the whole build up of a scene just leading to a floppy disk being inserted into a computer, were right up my alley.

    I also liked how they showed that even a job where people figure there must be no politics – waitress – has just as many issues as an office job. “You’re only wearing the minimum number of flare today.”

  7. Ryan McNeely September 17, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Even if it does go a little towards the end, the first two thirds make this a stone classic. I’ve always resisted buying it because I’m holding out for a proper special edition release but I might have to make an exception. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to play with my Jump to Conclusions mat.

  8. Reza September 17, 2012 at 10:58 am

    milton! I got an officemate just like him

  9. r361n4 September 18, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Probably my second favorite comedy of all time (after Monty Python and the Holy Grail) Great review and I’m glad that this movie isn’t wholly forgotten :)

  10. Nostra September 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    One of those movies that everyone with an office job should have seen at least once!

  11. momto3feistykids September 22, 2012 at 2:29 am

    This is such a funny movie — it gets better every time I watch it. It’s also one of the most quotable films around my house. There were many great characters, but Stephen Root’s character was really the highlight for me. “I could look out the window … and there were squirrels … and they were married.” :-)

    http://eclecticbooksandmovies.blogspot.com/

  12. Pingback: Looks like I have a case of the Mondays…Office Space (Film Review) « The Bishop Review

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