357 of 374 people found the following review helpful
I'm not sure it is essential to have worked in an office to enjoy this film, but I'm certain it will hit home for those who have. The movie was a complete bust at the box office, which utterly mystifies me, because it is hysterically funny and reflects the experience of millions of people across the United States (and I assume elsewhere). In an age where companies are seeking to lay off workers at any possible opportunity, this film has perhaps even more relevance now than it did when it came out in 1999.
The humor of the film works on multiple levels, but for me so much of it is funny with a twist of the knife, for much of the humor hints at a much more serious fact: modern work is genuinely dreadful and alienating. Perhaps many office workers love their job, but I hate mine, and I assume that I am merely one of millions. No one in this film has a meaningful job. Even Lumbergh, though the boss, has an absurd position. Peter Gibbons is at least able to be honest about the ridiculousness of his plight during the incredibly funny sequence in which he is hypnotized.
The film is a collection of many, many wonderful moments. I started laughing from the second that Peter Gibbons gets trapped in the traffic jam and is passed by an old man on a walker, and didn't stop until the very end. The film is a parade of very funny bits, from Michael Bolton and his passion for gangsta rap to Joanna's boss urging her to wear more flair (played by director Mike Judge) to Peter's neighbor who would yell at him through the walls to Peter's bizarre fantasy in which Lumbergh is making love to Joanna holding a cup of coffee in one hand and her ankle in the other to virtually any conversation involving Lumbergh and Milton. Some of the humor is a bit too broad. For instance, although I defy anyone not to find Milton's sequences funny as heck, they don't fit in quite as neatly with the satire of the rest of the film. I wouldn't, however, want to trade them in for a tighter movie.
In a way, this movie has made my life easier to live. I suspected my job was absurd before seeing this film. Now I know it is. But somehow knowing the truth makes it easier to get through the day.
74 of 78 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2005
I first watched "Office Space" on a laptop in a Tuscaloosa hotel with my future wife. We were on our way to a conference, and she suggested that we watch this movie. It wasn't too late in the evening, and the running time seemed reasonably short at approximately 90 minutes. I also figured that it would be pretty good, especially with Mike Judge as the writer and director. After having watched it several times since then, I am convinced that "Office Space" is one of the very best cinematic comedies made in recent years.
Watching "Office Space" seems especially therapeutic after dealing with craziness at work. This probably explains the film's broad appeal; it resonates with people who have needed to suffer bureaucratic B.S., the latest manifestations of "office speak," and arbitrary rules at some point in their working lives. Of course, Judge himself drew upon his own memories of work in an office, which he finally escaped after hitting upon the idea for "Beavis and B*tt-head." Although some people have criticized "Office Space" for not having enough "funny stuff," they don't seem to understand the subtlety of Judge's humor, which leans towards the dry and sardonic. One could almost imagine Billy Wilder feeling at home with the plot, though he might have needed a little extra nudging to include the gangsta rap songs.
With a cast that includes no "big-name stars" (except Jennifer Aniston), no central performer clamors for attention with cloying "hilarity." In fact, the quotidian nature of the characters actually enhances the humor. The characters in subordinate positions try to deal with inanities at work by stewing, fretting, and venting in private. Meanwhile, those with more power are content to reinforce the craziness because it guarantees their power, or because they are so entrenched in their positions that they don't recognize the arbitrary nature of the rules they enforce.
The characters are also funny because they remind me of people I have encountered throughout my life. Granted, they come across as caricatures to a degree, but the characters still seem more real than those conjured up for overly facile yuck-fests. In our own lives, many of us probably think that we are "normal," like the main character Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) or his girlfriend Joanna (Aniston). However, not everyone can be like Peter or Joanna... or at least our perceptions of them as "normal." Peter's sudden "transformation" into a quasi-Zen warrior, as well as Joanna's semi-stoner attitude, might just put them way outside the mainstream. In any case, I've seen enough people who share similarities with one, or even several, of these characters:
- Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole), Peter's passive-aggressive, narcissistic, and clueless Yuppie boss (complete with aviator glasses, power tie, and coffee mug) at Initech
- Michael Bolton (David Herman), Peter's nerdy coworker who just itches to unleash his internal Navy SEAL and gangsta
- Samir Nagheenanajar (Ajay Naidu), Peter's resourceful coworker who wants to "make it" in America
- Lawrence (Diedrich Bader), Peter's no-nonsense, no-collar neighbor and de facto confidant at the thin-walled Morningwood Apartments
- "The Bobs" (John C. McGinley and Paul Willson), coldly congenial external consultants hired by Initech to figure out how the company can "cut costs"
- Tom Smykowski (Richard Riehle), the older Initech employee whose forced joviality barely disguises his anxiety about falling victim to The Bobs
- Stan (a well-disguised cameo by Judge himself), Joanna's flair-obsessed boss at the T.G.I. Friday's-like restaurant Chotchkies, which provides a non-office doppelgänger for Peter's work environment
And yes, I've seen a few people who remind me of Milton Waddams (Stephen Root), the put-upon office gnome with his barely audible stream-of-consciousness mumbling, coke-bottle glasses, outdated sense of non-fashion, and a passive-aggressive attitude matching that of Lumbergh (and that Lumbergh ultimately underestimates). Peter may be the story's main protagonist, but one could see Milton as an odd sort of antihero as well. His almost incoherent mumbling, mainly consisting of requests to clarify matters regarding his salary, his desk, and his red Swingline stapler, acts as a more personalized counterpoint to the double-talk and nonsensical policies that drive Initech. Albeit in extreme fashion, Milton also demonstrates that greed can only propel a business so far, and that an ultimate moral obligation to one's shareholders doesn't always pay off.
For "Office Space" aficianados, the "Special Edition with Flair" includes a 30 minute documentary that provides some insights into the making of the movie. Some of it might not seem like news to hardcore fans, but I learned a few new things: how Gary Cole came up with Lumbergh's voice; the "bons mots" Diedrich Bader improvised as Lawrence; how Stephen Root got around in thick glasses; where Ajay Naidu learned his dance moves; and the origin of the word a**clown. It also includes eight deleted scenes (some of which you might miss if you blink) and computer downloads. Alas, it does not include the animated "Milton" shorts created by Mike Judge in 1991, which provided the original inspiration for "Office Space." That's about as disappointing as excluding "Hearts of Darkness" from the "Apocalypse Now Redux."
Whether one gets "Office Space" with or without flair, I can guarantee a good laugh to anyone who has had to deal with any kind of work-related nonsense at some point in their lives. It might not change the world, but "Office Space" will probably remain an effective purgative for anyone who has encountered such situations. If nothing else, one can at least hope that the insights of "Office Space" will inform the ethics of up-and-coming managers, and make them prioritize the things that really should matter at work.
76 of 84 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2001
This movie made an almost "psychic" connection with me... the first time I saw it, I had just come home from my nightmare job -- many of the same things depicted in the movie had happened to me that very day, including the printer jam with that exact message "Error - PC Load Letter", while trying to print a report that was already late (what the heck does that message mean, anyway?!).
I related so well to this movie's honest, astute, and technically correct observations of office culture in the 90's, that the brilliantly original bits of commedy were almost incidental to me (I must have annoyed the heck out of my wife with outbursts like "Oh my GOD, that's so TRUE!" every two minutes). I caught some of the more subtle humor in subsequent viewings.
I'll admit, the movie lost its hold on me about 2/3 in, when the main character (who had by this time become an icon to me with his new found "no fear of consequences" attitude) took a strange criminal direction, and his angst began to return. This seemed to break the consistancy. I wan't too thrilled with Jenifer Aniston's performance either, although I suppose that had more to do with her script. In any case, the second time I watched the move, none of this bothered me as much.
I've since purchased the DVD, and have worn this disk out playing it for friends. I'll never get tired of this movie... even the sound track makes me laugh. It's a wonder that it didn't get better reviews, although I guess one really would have had to have experienced office politics in the 90's to fully relate (I wonder when was the last time in the 90's that Ebert heard, "Don't forget to fill in your timesheets!")
Some reviewers gave it low ratings claiming that it was "lightweight"... okay, so it's no Citizen Kane, but it certainly doesn't claim to be either! Give it credit for what it is -- as a lighthearted observational commedy, it's brilliant. And that's not to say that it was a total no-brainer either... on an intelligence level, I'd rate it much higher than say... any movie ever made by the Fairley Brothers (and certainly much lower on the "obnoxious bathroom humor"-scale).
It's a pretty sad testiment to the intelligence of the average North American that movies like "Me, Myself, and Irene" brought in more money than Office Space. I hope Mike Judge doesn't let this stop him from creating another gem.
57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS Tape
If you've ever worked in a tiny cubicle, pushed papers, and fought a worthless fax machine in an attempt to earn a living, you will love this movie. OFFICE SPACE is a hilarious movie that deconstructs everything that makes an office worker's life so miserable: from morning traffic, to catch phrases (it looks like somone has the Moondays), to bosses that totally ignore their workers. This movie had a low budget, but Mike Judge is a brilliant filmmaker. He takes a relatively unknown cast and is able to milk hilarious, yet totally lifelike performances from each actor and unites everything together in a coherent conceptually comedy masterpiece (e.g. the fax-beating scene with the ganster music playing is just pure brilliance). Of course, the film says a lot about the actors as well, they don't seem to be just characters or caricatures: they seem like real people. There is no sex, relative little violence (well, there is a lot of violence toward inanimate objects), and relatively little cursing words (most of the foul language comes from the film's soundtrack). A movie that's destined to become a modern comedy classic.
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2005
After the hype that has been given to this release for months and months I am pretty dissapointed.
The title of this release is slightly misleading. What they should really call it released slightly updated edition. If you have seen or own the original DVD release of Office Space you aren't missing much.
What we have here is the same transfer and audio mix as in the first DVD, no commentaries or any other extras here. I would have liked to see a slightly better transfer done for this flick. Although this is not bad, there are some issues with it, mainly in the colors. The 5.1 track is still very nice by today's standards and if one of the best mixed soundtracks I have heard on DVD.
Now on to the "flair". What we have is a crappy documentary that is sorely lacking. So much more could have be done there and more information given. It seems like a waste. Instead of spending the money on that lets get everyone in the room and give us a commentary. I'd love to hear all these guys together just joking around, I read a magazine article a few months ago with them all talking about this release and that was better than what we got here.
The deleted scenes are nice to see, and a few give some more insight into the story. Although they mention scenes in the documentary that are not included here, which again makes little sense.
And that is it. Where are the Milton shorts that were supposed to be included? You see 5 second clips in the documntary but I want to see them all.
With the low pricepoint, if you don't own this yet it is worth the money. If you have the first release don't bother, you aren't missing anything.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
If you have ever worked in a cubicle farm for a technology company, or ROFL after reading Dilbert cartoons, and know what ROFL means, you will love this movie. Mike Judge (creator of Beavis and Butthead) digs into and makes fun of the things that people hate most about their jobs, with such accuracy that he must have consulted Scott Adams himself while developing the screenplay.
With company names like "Penetrode", this movie takes numerous humorous stabs at the idiocy foisted upon the modern working class by the "management class", those highly-compensated stuffed-shirts with no more qualifications than an MBA hanging on their wall. These are the people who abuse you every time you make a mistake, and try to convince you that they are really your buddy in a thinly veiled attempt to keep you submissive and cooperative. Office Space tears into the very heart of the manipulative phony friendship ploy that so many managers think of as their "brilliant" management technique.
So if you're tired of being shocked every time you touch a door knob, and sick of having half a dozen different "bosses" giving you conflicting work assignments, then I highly recommend that you buy this movie and blow off some steam, before it's too late!
This film is a lot of fun to watch, but if you're looking for an intellectually challenging work of art, this is not the film for you. The story is quite simple; it is a single-layer story that conveys the same information on subsequent viewing as it conveyed during the first viewing. The visual and audio elements are interesting and entertaining, but not artistic. This is a fun comedy that a lot of people can identify with, not deep social commentary. However, the social commentary that IS in the film couldn't be more timely.
The DVD itself is mediocre. No extras to speak of, other than cast bios and one trailer. Transitions from one menu to another are slightly animated, and the way the DVD starts up is cute, but overall the power of the DVD medium is not utilized.
Artistic Merit: C
Overall Entertainment Value: A
Transfer Quality: A
Use of Medium: C+
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2003
....and why are you wearing only the minimum pieces of flair?
This is a delightful comedy about the annoyances and indignities of the modern workaday world, as seen through the eyes of Peter, a cube-dwelling software developer, and his prospective girlfriend, a frustrated waitress at Chachki's restaurant where over-eager teenagers ("try the EXTREME fajitas") take your order.
Although seemingly aimed at Gen-Xers, Office Space resonates with us older folks too. The characters and situations are hilarious, the dialogue wittily unexpected ("during these conjugal visits.... can you have sex with a woman?"), and the only people who seem content with life are those who don't do too much thinking--like Peter's neighbor, a happy-go-lucky construction worker whose sole concerns are naked women and beer.
If you don't enjoy this movie, it's either because you lack a sense of humor or else you didn't get the memo.
35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2005
Rate 5 for the movie, 1 for the gift set.
I just bought 2 of the gift sets online at Bestbuy.com for 21.99 each, although perhaps stock is based on regional availability ?
Anyway, here's the scoop: The new edition of the movie "Special Edition with Flair" (which you can buy solo for about 12.99) is worth it - even if only for all the computer stuff: sound effect files, and a small computer game. The gift set, however, is not really worth it, especially for a die hard fan.
The extras are really cheesy. They are all stamped with an "Office Space Special Edition with Flair" logo as well as one for Twentieth Century Fox. The red stapler is not a Swingline - it is a VERY cheap little plastic number which will probably break after a few uses. The plastic pen and pencil are crappier than the cheapest giveaway pens I have ever seen. The mug has the logos as mentioned, and a really low-res picture of Lumburg on it. The magnet frame is similarly cheap - perhaps suitable for the office fridge (if you can sneak it in when no one is looking). The mouse pad is OK, but with phrases like "revenge to the fax on it" (when clearly it should say "revenge to the printer") you can tell the extras weren't put together by fans of the movie - more likely marketing weasels from Dilbert world. Lastly, the TPS report memo sheets are kind of cool, with the Initech logo and the image of the fish innards on them - but then the movie logo kind of ruins the effect.
That said, this would make the perfect gift for an office party, although I am going to buy just the movie and a real Swingline for a gift instead.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2004
I'm a US citizen who teaches English in Mexico. My (Mexican) fellow teachers frequently ask me why I left the "American Dream" behind in order to work for a low salary at a university in Baja, and they always seem rather unwilling to accept my portrait of life in corporate America. I first watched this eerily realistic spoof on TV a couple of years ago, and I intend to order it for our school library with the hope that watching it will convince both students and teachers that life in the US isn't all that it's cracked up to be.
If the movie weren't so hilarious and extreme, it would almost qualify as a docudrama. It is very well cast and acted, and I must agree with the reviewer who finds it to be underrated.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2002
"Office Space" is, quite suprisingly, one of the top 3 comedies of the last 20 years in my opinion. It ranks right up with "Ghostbusters" and "Back to the Future", but is a completely different type of movie.
It is frankly brilliant. It's humor lies in the satirical realism in its portrayal of white-collar borgeois ennui (I was dying to use those words). Peter Gibbons is you and I: a bored and frustrated cubical drone who is surrounded by the most insane yet realistic office envoronment ever shown on film. Every office has these workers in it:
1. The annoying phone-answering voice person. (Mina in Corporate Accounts Payable)
2. The total nerd who thinks he's a tough-guy. (Michael "Mike" Bolton, look at his gangsta rap and Navy Seals posters in his cube)
3. The annoying younger guy who is a sexual harassment case waiting to happen. (Drew, the "oh" face guy)
4. The annoying older person who is eternally convinced they're going to get laid off (Tom Smigmikowski, the "Jump to Conclusions" guy).
5. The easily irritable engineer type guy who can't figure out the copier / fax machine (Samir Naninagaja)
6. The disgustingly happy and content person. (The "case of the Mondays" mail lady)
7. The snide, "method management" boss who speaks to everyone like they're in 5th grade. (Lumberg)
and of course...
8. The twitchy postal case (Milton)
All of these characters are people we know in our everyday dealings at work. That, combined with the cubical-farm of an office building that is Initech (direct competitor with Penetrode and Initrode) make this film almost frightening. The office is laden with Swingline staplers, walls adorned with lame "Employee of the Month" plaques, and ceilings with motivating corporate slogans like "Is this good for THE COMPANY???" We have all worked here before!!
The humor is subtle and not at all goofy or in-your-face. Some may not find it as funny (probably corporate stuffed shirts and managers like Bill Lumberg) as those type of films, but this is an intellegent and hysterical comedy nonetheless. Ron Livingston is a great actor who is just now becoming recognized after his role on "The Pracice" and in HBO's "Band of Brothers". He plays another great roll in the direct to video "Body Shots". The guy who plays Lumberg was also Mike Brady from the "Brady Bunch" movies and he is also brilliant.
Check this out quick before you get laid off or downsized!!