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REVIEW OF OFFICE SPACE
BY MIKE JUDGE

One of the funniest, most entertaining movies ever made about the dream of escaping the boredom and misery of the work world.

Office Space

  • "We don't have a lot of time on this earth! We weren't meant to spend it this way. Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day... filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements." - Peter Gibbons

  • "So I was sitting in my cubicle today and I realized ever since I started working, every single day of my life has been worse than the day before it. So that means that every single day that you see me, that's on the worst day of my life." - Peter Gibbons

  • "You know there are people in this world who don't have to put up with this sh*t!" - Tom Smykowski

  • "I don't like my job and I don't think I'm gonna go anymore." - Peter Gibbons
It's the little things at work that cause us huge headaches. The thoughtless, condescending remarks from the boss. The painfully slow ticking of the clock. The piercing voice of the co-worker in the next cubicle. And, of course, the copy machine with a perpetually inexplicable paper jam. Who among us hasn't dreamt of storming out the door in favor of a pleasant, peaceful day out fishing?

Welcome to the world of Peter Gibbons - workplace renegade. This is a man who understands your disillusionment with work. And while other resources may offer more in the way of concrete solutions, nobody knows better than Peter that, sometimes, we simply need a mental escape in order to keep our sanity. Well, if laughter is the best medicine, then Office Space is at least a temporary cure for your workplace blues.

The film is written by Mike Judge, and is based on his short animation Milton, which aired briefly on Saturday Night Live and follows the hilarious travails of a pathetic and underappreciated office flunkie. Judge is best known as the creator of Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill. Whatever your opinion of those particular shows, one can't help but admire Judge's keen ability to pinpoint the stereotypical personas in our everyday lives and expertly capture the quirky details of a variety of life situations.

As a disgruntled former engineer, the workworld was a natural target for his irreverent and laser-like satire. In Office Space, Judge gives us his unique view of the work world, while walking the tightrope between rage and uproarious humor. The result is a film that, like few other comedies, reflects the spirit of the characters and feelings that mark our days at the grindstone.

Perhaps, the most impressive feat Judge accomplishes in Office Space is capturing the absolute essence of what drives us nuts about our jobs.
  • The stop and go traffic that leaves us tense and irritable before we even arrive at our desks.

  • The frustration - (Sameer: "Why does it say paper jam when there IS no paper jam?")

  • The powerlessness - (Peter: "I don't know about you but I'm tired of being pushed around.")

  • The apathy - (Peter: "It's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't care.")

  • The incredible amounts of utterly wasted time - (Peter: "I'd say in a given week, I probably only do about 15 minutes of real, actual work.")
From the dress codes to the endlessly inefficient forms, Judge hits the nail on the head in a way that would make you squirm, if only you weren't laughing so hard. In the process, he delivers a plethora of aphorisms and phrases that are destined to become part of your everyday lingo. Just mention "TPS Reports" or "A case of the Mondays" to anyone who has seen this film and odds are good you'll have found a kindred spirit. Ask them "Did you get that memo?" and earn additional points. And, after seeing this film, you'll never again look at a Swingline stapler quite the same way.

In order to deliver this brutally honest and comically-crafted gem, Judge employs a diverse and varied cast. Peter is played by Ron Livingston of Swingers fame. Jennifer Aniston (we'll forgive her work on Friends in return for her foresight in doing this movie) is the recipient of one of the smoothest pickup maneuvers ever recorded. Old favorite Paul Wilson (Paul from Cheers) joins the fun, along with Diedrich Bader from The Drew Carey Show and a variety of other minor players who lend their quirky appeal to this cult classic. Together, they bring to life a set of characters that embodies the gamut of workplace pathology.

On the roster:
  • Milton - The strange loner from whom no indignity is spared.

  • Bill Lumbergh - The ultra-conservative boss who can hardly be described by any word that doesn't include ass.

  • Drew - The overgrown, sexually immature frat boy.

  • Michael - The wannabe-rapper computer nerd.

  • Sameer - The recently-arrived immigrant seeking a better life as a computer programmer in America.

  • Tom - The veteran worker whose years of stress on the job are starting to catch up with him.

  • Lawrence - The simple white trash neighbor whose insane ramblings often yield surprising truths.
Surrounding the key players, we are treated to an endless array of annoying coworkers, seemingly oblivious to their circumstance, or even crazy enough to enjoy it. I defy you to go to work after seeing this movie without recognizing at least two of these characters in your own office.

To our dismay, this is a fictional movie and not all of us have the nerve to follow in Peter Gibbons' footsteps. But, as long as you're going to be stuck at that obscenely underpaid job, the least you can do is get some laughs at their expense. Office Space is sure to account for plenty of laughter, both during numerous viewings, as well as in the countless references you will find yourself sharing with friends for years to come.

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