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Office Space (1999)

Work Sucks.

Directed by:

Mike Judge

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 89 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United States

Long before the comedy community had latched onto the chortlesome brilliance of Ricky Gervais’ ‘The Office’, US cartoonist Mike Judge (he’s the bloke who created ‘Beavis and Butt-Head’ and ‘King of the Hill’) had already realised the almost inexhaustible comic potential behind the mind-numbingly mundane life of the modern-day office-worker. ‘Milton’, Judge’s series of animated shorts about a helplessly-disgruntled desk-jockey, found a regular slot on ‘Saturday Night Live’ and, in 1999, spawned this marvellously-observed feature flick. It’s one of the smartest comedies of the last decade or so, and deserves to be lauded up there with all of Gervais’ best work, instead of swept under the carpet as it more-or-less was upon its big screen release.

Now though, thanks to the wonders of DVD (perhaps not everything about modern life is rubbish), you can watch ‘Office Space’ over and over again. And you should. And you should do it right now. It stars Ron Livingston as Peter Gibbons, a cubicle-lurker who’s reached the end of his tether with the sheer tedium involved in his job. Disillusioned beyond any conceivable recovery, he visits a hypnotherapist (Mike McShane) who he tells: “Since I started working, every single day has been worse than the day before, so that every day you see me is the worst day of my life.” Things really are that bad. But, when a botched course of hypnosis leaves him without any worries, cares or inhibitions, he sets about making some life-changing decisions – including asking out the waitress he’s fancied for God-knows-how-long (Jennifer Aniston) and hatching an ill-advised money-making scheme with a couple of his colleagues (Ajay Naidu and David Herman).

The plot itself is strong enough to hold the attention for the short-but-sweet running time, there are some great supporting characters to add that little bit of extra padding, and first-time director Judge displays a style which is perfect for the subject matter. Featuring dialogue dripping with sharp satire and a fantastically understated lead performance from a suitably bored-looking Livingston, ‘Office Space’ is a movie guaranteed to curry favour with anyone who’s ever experienced the outright monotony of producing pointless reports or repeatedly attempting to fix a jammed photocopier.

It's Got: The best photocopier-based scene ever put to film. No, seriously.

It Needs: 15 pieces of flair.

DVD Extras Just a trailer, which is a bit of a pity. A couple of episodes of the original toon might have been nice. Version reviewed: Office Space DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

Clockwatchers, The Office

Summary

This hilarious pencil-pushing journey through office politics is worthy of taking up a space in anyone’s DVD collection.

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