Office Space – Funny For A While

Office Space – Funny For A While

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  1. Have you ever worked in an office, imprisoned by your cubicle all day doing work you hate just so you can afford your overpriced apartment?  If so, then Mike Judge’s 1999 comedy Office Space is for you.  Even if you haven’t, it’s still for you because it is pretty funny.  Before writing and directing Office Space, Mike Judge was known primarily for some work on Saturday Night Live and for all things "Beavis and Butthead" even including a couple of video games.  While Office Space is very funny and sharply written, the only awards it was nominated for were Satellite Awards for Best DVD and Best DVD Extras.  It didn’t win, but those are very interesting awards to be nominated for.

    What is it about?

    Office Space follows Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) and his buddies Samir Nagheenanajar (Ajay Naidu) and Michael Bolton (David Herman) as they work for a software company called Initech.  They absolutely abhor their jobs.  They especially hate their boss, Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole).  They have to stay in the job, though, because it pays the bills.

    Making Peter’s life even worse is that his girlfriend has been cheating on him.  He ends up going to a hypnotherapist and, after getting hypnotized, the therapist dies before bringing him out of hypnosis leaving Peter in a perpetual state of ecstacy which makes him not care at all about work… or really anything. That looks like it will be a problem when Lumbergh brings in two consultants to downsize the company.  Ironically, though, Peter’s attitude toward the company and his work impress the consultants and they promote him.  Samir and Michael get fired, though.

    During all of this, Peter ends up dating Joanna (Jennifer Aniston) who is a great match for him.  She doesn’t, however, approve of what he and his two friends do to get back at Initech.  They create a virus that takes a small fraction of a cent from every financial transaction and puts it into an account that they own.  The virus ends up taking a good bit more than they expected it to and all hell breaks loose… even leading to Initech being burned to the ground.

    Is it any good?

    This film is very funny for the first half or so.  Then it becomes borderline silly.  There are still some amazing one-liners and hilarious moments, but the story is rather weak after Peter gets promoted.  That doesn’t make it a bad movie or anything, but it could be much better with a less predictable and contrived plot.  Even though it’s a goofy comedy, it still needs to make a little bit of sense.

    One thing that really stands out in this film is the chemistry between Livingston, Herman, and Naidu.  Their scenes together are awesome.  The banter is witty and interesting, their comedic timing is great, and they play off each other very well.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of their scenes were adlibbed because they seem so natural.

    Another thing that stands out, though, is the plethora of hilariously zany side characters.  Milton (Stephen Root) works in the office and loves nothing more than his red Swingline stapler, Lawrence (Diedrich Bader) lives next to Peter and always tries to get Peter to watch a breast exam commerical, and Brian (Todd Duffey) is a co-worker of Joanna’s and is way too excited about his job at a weird restaurant called Chotchkie’s.  These are just three of the unforgettable supporting characters that make Office Space special.

    Nolan’s Grade:  B

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