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Judge the Office Space
Office Space (DVD)
Member Name: Jarisleif
Office Space (DVD)
Advantages: Witty and clever
Disadvantages: Language may turn off some viewers
Warning: Spoilers will likely be given during this review.
The film was 89 minutes in length and starred Ron Livingston ("Swingers", "Band of Brothers", "The Cooler") as Peter Gibbons, Jennifer Aniston ("Friends", "Bruce Almighty", "Rock Star") as Joanna, and Stephen Root ("King of the Hill", "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story", "Jersey Girl") as Milton Waddams.
The plot for the film reads as follows: A comedic tale of company workers who hate their jobs and decide to rebel against their greedy boss.
Peter Gibbons is a bored IT technician at Initech. As a result of his hypnotherapist dying while he was putting Peter into a relaxed state, he finds himself a changed man and sees the world in a very different light. Over the course of the film, Peter and his two colleagues, Samir and Michael, are seen to get a payday out of the company because it's realised that the company is downsizing and Peter's two friends will be out of a job. Add in some quirky characters like Milton Waddams who hasn't been paid for ages because they've not actually told him he's been fired, or Peter's neighbour, Lawrence, who can be heard through the very thin walls, and Peter's boss, Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole), and you have a comedy which didn't really hit the headlines in the Box Office, but became a cult classic when it was released on the small screen. Is it any good? Let's find out!
The film starts out with Peter, Samir and Michael on the freeway in their own separate cars and it's a typical rush hour traffic jam. Peter looks dismayed as he inches forward, switches lanes and tries to get ahead but to no avail. Samir is getting frustrated with the traffic and he lets out a great line which gets me every time: "Mother... shitter... Son of an... ass. I just.." Michael isn't too fussed with the jam and is rapping in his car but when a black man crawls past him, he quietens down and winds up his window. Milton is sat at the bus stop and he's mumbling that it's late. That's your introduction to the four main characters but they're just the icing on the cake. The likes of Lumbergh, Joanna and the two Bob's are just as good.
There are many very funny scenes - too many to detail in one review and too many to give away - but one that sticks out is where Peter is having a meeting with the two Bob's about downsizing and finds out that his friends are on the chopping block. There is a running joke thoughout the film where a few people can't get the pronunciation of Samir's surname, Nagheennajar. Bob Porter says "We're gonna be getting rid of these people here... First, Mr. Samir Naga... Naga... Naga... Not gonna work here anymore, anyway." Samir himself highlights the problem with his name in a conversation with Michael, to which Michael replies: "At least your name isn't Michael Bolton". There are another couple of lines where Michael talks of a 'no-talent ass clown' becoming famous and Samir asks why he doesn't go by Mike instead of Michael and the retort is "Why I should I change? He's the one who sucks."
We can't go through the review without mentioning a scene or two which involves Milton and his recurring theme is that his desk keeps getting moved. One scene in particular is where he's mumbling on the phone to someone about his moving and during the conversation he says "and I used to be over by the window, and I could see the squirrels, and they were married." Now some people will see the real meaning of that, and those that don't, well, you'll probably not understand the film, either! Another funny part involving Milton is where Peter asks him to turn his radio down a little. Milton goes on a ramble that he told Lumbergh that if Sandra can listen to her headphones then he should be able to listen to his radio "at a reasonable volume between nine and eleven."
Other notable scenes include Joanna's pieces of flair problem at her place of employment, Chotchkie's. She's told the minimum amount of pieces must be fifteen, but her boss (played by Mike Judge) wants her to wear more. Joanna goes on a rant about wearing 37 pieces like her co-worker, Brian, and expresses herself by flipping him off and quitting. Another scene I loved was where Samir and Michael have served their final day at Initech and Peter walks out with them. Peter has stolen a printer and in a slow motion action scene the three of them smash it to pieces. Probably the most underrated scene comes in Peter's apartment when he has his neighbour, Lawrence, over for a few beers. Peter asks him what he'd do if he had a million dollars and Lawrence replied with a stone face: "Two chicks at the same time." Peter is then asked the same question and he says he'd do nothing, to which Lawrence replies "You don't need a million dollars to do nothing, man. Take a look at my cousin. He's broke and don't do shit."
The characters are wonderful in creation and are played brilliantly by the actors in question. I'm not going to go into detail on all of them, but I can't write this review without talking about a few of them at least.
Milton Waddams is my favourite character in the film, and I suspect he will be the favourite of many. His mumbling ways are a joy to watch and he has some great dialogue in the film. Stephen Root is perfect for the role and he really took Milton to heart when he portrayed him here. Some of the best scenes in the film are with Milton, especially the one-liners he comes out with. He's the type of person who wants to be assertive and speak his mind, but he doesn't have the self esteem for it and often mutters the things he wants to say under his breath in a manner that most can't hear, or choose not to. I enjoy the directorial emphasis on his thick glasses, and his eyes seem huge as Root purposely rolls them around in the lens area.
Peter Gibbons is the type of guy everyone gets on with, but his boss would say his work ethics leave a lot to be desired. In Joanna he sees the woman of his dreams, and pursues her with a passion after he was left hypnotised. It gave him a clearer train of thought and she became everything he wanted and likes the same things he does. Ron Livingston takes the part of Peter to heart and he seems to find it pretty easy to play the character. His new-found laid back attitude helps him keep the job he hates, even though he does nothing at work anyway and generally slacks off each day, doing just enough to get by.
I do enjoy Gary Cole in his role as Bill Lumbergh. His mannerisms are something that he seems to have worked on and his depiction of the character is very good as he's shown in many scenes that are funny. Lumbergh thinks he's a lot cooler than he actually is and over-estimates his own importance a little too often. He attempts to be a boss that does things for employees which are aimed at boosting morale, but nobody seems interested in them. On-screen he comes across as someone nobody wants to work for and there's a distinct lack of respect for him, but if he was my boss I think I'd like the guy.
In summary, this is a film you're going to like if you're a fan of Deadpan humour, but if you're not I don't think you're going to enjoy it as much. What you have to remember here is that this is a film from the guy that gave Beavis and Butt-Head to the world, and a lot of that comedy is instilled into this live action film. Personally, I love it, and it's one of my favourite comedy films of all time. It takes a special film to become a cult classic and this is every bit that special. Don't just take my word for it, though. Buy it and find out for yourselves. You'll thank me later.
The critics, for the most part, loved the film:
Film4: "So good, you should quit work to see it."
Village Voice: "A surprisingly good-natured comedy about the suppressed rage and paranoia of unappreciated employees."
Empire Magazine: "A shapeless comedy of little merit."
Variety: "Uproarious, cunning!"
TIME Magazine: "Some horrible Monday, why not cut work to see it?"
My rating: 9/10
Summary: A great film. One of my favourites.