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Office Space

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All-Reviews.com Movie Review: Office Space

Starring: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston
Director: Mike Judge
Rated: R
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: February 1999
Genre: Comedy


*Also starring: Stephen Root, Gary Cole, David Herman, Ajay Naidu, Richard Riehle, Diedrich Bader



Review by Greg King
2 stars out of 4

Mike Judge, the creator of animated favourites Beavis And Butthead and King Of the Hill, turns his hand to live action comedy with Office Space, a sort of slacker's guide on how to succeed in business without really trying. This enjoyable enough comedy about the plight of office workers everywhere centres around a disenchanted computer programmer who finds himself unexpectedly promoted, despite his best efforts to get himself fired from his mundane job.

Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston, from Swingers, etc) is a computer programmer at high tech computer firm Initech, but he has grown more stressed out and disenchanted by his job and lack of opportunity. Following a hypnosis therapy session that ends with the death of his analyst, Peter becomes far more relaxed and easy going, turning up to work late and casually dressed. A team of corporate consultants somehow identify his attitude as perfect management material and recommend him for promotion. He and two colleagues also put into motion a small scheme to help sabotage the company, which backfires.

A less interesting subplot centres around the growing romance between Peter and Joanna (Friends' star Jennifer Aniston), a waitress in a tacky fast food restaurant. Joanna is also growing tired of her thankless job and her manager's insistence on the employees wearing "lots of flair" and projecting a happy attitude. Aniston is wasted in an under developed role.

The film loses much of its comic energy and invention when it moves outside the office and away from the office politics of Initech.

One of the more fascinating characters here is Milton (Stephen Root), the mild, mumbling, much put upon employee who works in an increasingly cluttered office. Gary Cole (American Gothic, etc) is wonderfully droll as Lumbergh, the firm's laconic and irritating boss.

The film's very obvious philosophy is that there is more to life than working nine to five purely for the money to pay the bills. Man wasn't meant to spend all day sitting inside a tiny cubicle staring at a computer screen, or filling in meaningless forms in triplicate. Many within the audience will identify with the frustrations of the put-upon white collar characters here and sympathise with the movie's sentiments. However, they may find little consolation from some of the more extreme solutions that Judge suggests.

Copyright 2000 Greg King

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