Office Space Review

by Susan Granger (Ssg722 AT aol DOT com)
February 27th, 1999

Susan Granger's review of "OFFICE SPACE" (20th Century-Fox) Just imagine Scott Adams' comic strip "Dilbert" on the big screen and you've got the concept of this caustic comedy. Which is not surprising since it's written and directed by Mike Judge, the creator of "Beavis and Butthead" and "King of the Hill." Ron Livingston plays a young computer programmer who hates everything about his geeky, anonymous job at Initech Corp. - the mind-numbing routine, the clock-punching, the procedure-obsessed supervisors, the "paper jams" and the pettiness. Above all, however, he hates the humiliation of being fired as the result of downsizing. To ease his frustration, his yuppie girl-friend arranges for him to see "an occupational hypnotherapist" who suffers a fatal heart attack in the midst of his therapy session, leaving Livingston relaxed and free of all his anxieties about unemployment. Unencumbered, he begins to enjoy life, much to the consternation of his despicable, condescending boss (Gary Cole) who is prone to tell his employees on Friday afternoon that they're expected to report for work on Saturday and Sunday. "I don't like my job," Livingston says nonchalantly, "and I'm not going to go." Then, when he's interviewed by a couple of consultants, his candid, carefree sarcasm about his uselessness is interpreted as a qualification for an upper-management position. Meanwhile, he's concocted an embezzlement scheme with two cyberwise cubicle nerds and launched a personal pursuit of a pretty young waitress (Jennifer Aniston). As a film, what you're seeing is a series of comedy sketches created by Mike Judge over the last decade - but, given the right frame of mind, it works. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Office Space" is a sharply satirical 6, a wickedly funny take on the deskbound worker.

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