REVIEWED
7/28/04

STORY



LOOK




Office Space
Director: Mike Judge
Year: 1999
TRT: 1:30


Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butt-head, had his time in the sun compliments of MTV. Some of it was pretty fuckin funny, too, way back when. But here we're dealing with a live action, feature-length film. And I gotta say, when taking on the peon corporate world, he fuckin nailed it on so many different levels. When I first saw this, I didn't enjoy it as much because of the proximity to the situation, I guess. But upon further viewings, I appreciate it (and laugh my ass off) more and more as time goes by, seeing it as a perfect time capsule of the absurdities of the pre-bubble corporate way when forced through the maze of cubicles. Could be different now, dunno, left that shite behind long ago. Regardless, a very smart look at the frustrations of working in the lower echelons of the corporate world.

Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) is living the dream with his job in the tech industry. Except that it's more of a nightmare. Over-management, oppressive conditions and annoying people makes his life out to be pretty miserable. But after going to a "career psychologist," Peter takes a new outlook on life, and things seem to only get better with time. But satisfaction is a hard thing to come by, and soon enough his languid style of living comes back to haunt him.

This movie is a perfect combinations of vignettes about the brutal boredom of the office life. Sure, the "Milton" part of it (which it was originally "extracted" from) is funny but pretty weak (though Stephen Root does play the role perfectly). The joke-of-a-boss by Gary Cole is dead-on, and great supporting characters, from the chode co-worker with the "O" face to Peter's neighbor (Deidrich Bader) to the brilliant-yet-small part of John McGinley as one of the Bobs (down to the scene where he's grinding his teeth, subtle but perfect). Even Ron Livingston in the lead, a relative unknown, plays the apathetic everyman with style. As much as you may hate your job, this movie makes you realize it could be a lot worse. Hopefully. Otherwise, you may want to start looking for a new job.

Great Scene: The "last day" of work, starting with the hand-off of the disk, to the empty field and the bat, to the final drunken celebration, all set to a decidedly "urban" soundtrack (not that I particularly cared for it, but it was definitely appropriate).

DVD Notes: Widescreen version put out by 20th C Fox, nice intro menu themed with the film, but not much else included beside the trailer. Would love to have a commentary track by writer and director Judge on this one, but alas, nada. Probably holding out for a $30 special edition or something.