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Office Space

Starring Ron Livingston, David Herman, Ajay Naidu, Gary Cole, Stephen Root and Jennifer Aniston
Screenplay and Directed by Mike Judge
website: www.officeguy.com

IN SHORT: Dilbert Live.

The advertorial tagline of Office Space, a live action film from Beavis and Butt-head creator Mike Judge, is "work sucks". That right there defines the demographic target of the flick, all you teens and twentysomethings who have their sights set on more entertaining things and for whom work is something that kills the daytime. As you get older, and become responsible for people other than yourself, the tag would be more like grin and bear it.

Cranky's got no wife. Cranky's got no kids. Cranky's got no responsibility to anyone other than you, dear readers, which is how I can bear down and endure Office Space, an amiable enough comedy that candidly steals a major plot point from Superman 3. My credo has always been to pay attention to the audience, all twentysomethings who love Beavis and many of whom walked out commenting that this flick and Rushmore are the only two out there worth seeing.

Based on a series of cartoons starring an office cubicle filler named Milton that Judge did for Saturday Night Live, Office Space treads familiar ground, which is where the Dilbert comparison comes in. That's a real comment from a real ticket buyer, folks. Just another thing to add to the checklist when you try and decide what to go see. Cranky likes Dilbert. Cranky can tolerate Beavis and Butt-head and he loves King of the Hill (Judge's other animated series) but he still would have preferred to stay home and watch this flick on the telly rather than venture out in a zero wind chill. Now you know where I'm coming from.

Living in a land of cubicles, where all the bosses are patronizing and all the memos come at you from eight different places is the incredibly unhappy Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston), a software engineer whose job it is to check computer code for Y2K bugs. Peter lives in a tedious world in which the phrase "get a life" is more than a phrase. He wishes out loud that he could get "zonked out" to the numbness of his daily gig. When girlfriend Anne (Alexandra Wentworth) takes him to see an occupational hypnotherapist, whatever the hell that means, he gets his wish.

It is at this point that Office Space truly shines. Corporate consultants have been brought in, meaning layoffs are coming. Peter, realizing that he'd rather be doing nothing, convinces fellow software engineers Michael Bolton (David Herman) and Samir (Ajay Naidu) to write a virus that would strip the fraction of a cent left over from bank transactions ("they did it in Superman Three") and eventually make 'em all rich. He also makes a play for the waitress he's had his eye on all movie, played by Jennifer Aniston. The scheme goes awry, of course, and the movie downshifts in comic intensity as the results play out

In addition to Aniston (of Friends) and Naidu (Lateline), you'll recognize lots of faces from the small screen. Stephen Root (newsradio) takes the part of poor corporate dweeb Milton, who sees his corporate status fall as his desk is moved further away from the window; Diedrich Bader (The Drew Carey Show) is a salt of the earth next door neighbor; Paul Wilson (Cheers) is one of the consultants. Also of note is Gary Cole (you'll recognize the face) as the mono-toned boss.

Work sucks. Office Space doesn't. But Cranky's a decade too old for this thing.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Office Space, he would have paid...


As I said, I would have preferred to rent and that's the proper rating level for me. If you're a Beavis fan, or fit any of the other criteria mentioned above, it's probably closer to date flick level of $5.

The Cranky Critic® is a Registered Trademark of, and his website is  Copyright © 1995  -  2013 by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.