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
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
Copyright © 2000 Greg King