Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Forgotten Movies: OFFICE SPACE

For a very long time I have heard people remark on how much they like this movie. Having seen it, I can't understand why. It's a pleasant enough two hours, but not half as funny as I expected and really, so tame. Ron Livingstone plays a guy who works in a cubicle for a soulless company. He is unable to voice even a mild complaint about his treatment. When he is encouraged to seek hypnosis to make him more aggressive, he is left in limbo as a guy who just does what he wants. I expected what he wants to be much funnier or at least funny. But it is also too tame. I wish someone would tell me why they liked this movie because I sure missed it. Jennifer Aniston is unmemorable as his girlfriend. She has forged a career with such bland parts. And I don't get that either.


Dana King said...

Forget Livingston and Anniston. This has become a cult film because of Gary Cole and Stephen Root (and his stapler), as well as the two consultants who interview the employees. All four of these resonate with people who worked in cube farms.

Jeff Meyerson said...

There are bits it is known for- the running gag about the stapler, the Michael Bolton stuff, the stuff with the "flair" - but I certainly never found it hilarious. Actually, I thought that, pathetic as it was, it was one of Anniston's better parts.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Now I have to watch it again. I see I am concentrating on the wrong things.

Todd Mason said...

Well, it was also one of the earlier films about how soul-deadening cubicle corporate culture was...that was aimed at audiences who were living cubicle-culture life. The Stephen Root character was also a carryover from Mike Judge's short-form cartoon series about the same character.

CLOCKWATCHERS, or for that matter both versions of THE OFFICE, followed. Of course, there was no lack of soul-dead office films before this...THE WHITE BUS comes to mind, or THE APARTMENT.

It is rather mild, but, of course, Judge has since gone on to SILICON VALLEY. It is one of the better Anniston parts...she hasn't ever had to challenge herself too much. THE GOOD GIRL might've come closest.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, THE GOOD GIRL was about her best.
I think I missed a lot of the movie looking for the wrong thing.

Margot Kinberg said...

I have to admit, I liked this film a lot. Perhaps it's because I worked in a cube farm for a while, and I understand the culture...

Steve Oerkfitz said...

Haven't seen this in a longtime but remember liking it.

Can't post or write to George Kelley. Could this be a wordpress problem? Anyone else have this problem.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above posters: It's Kafka-lite for cubists. The following dialogue is what we're all thinking, but have never said out loud (which is kinda the definition of comedy):

Peter Gibbons: Well, I generally come in at least fifteen minutes late, ah, I use the side door - that way Lumbergh can't see me, heh - after that I sorta space out for an hour.
Bob Porter: Da-uh? Space out?
Peter Gibbons: Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I'm working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I'd say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.
Peter Gibbons: You see, Bob, it's not that I'm lazy, it's that I just don't even care.
Bob Porter: Don't- don't care?
Peter Gibbons: It's a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don't see another dime, so where's the motivation? And here's another thing, I have eight different bosses right now.
Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon?
Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses, Bob.
Bob Porter: Eight?
Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That's my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

Dana King said...

And those damned TPS reports.