Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Comedy, Crime
  • 1999
  • 92 mins

Office Space

Film4 Office Space

Synopsis

Three wage slaves scheme against their smug employer. Comedy starring Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston, written and directed by Mike Judge

Critic's Review

Two years before Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant introduced us to the horrors of Wernham-Hogg, 'Beavis And Butt-Head' creator Mike Judge took us on a tour of Initech, a faceless company remarkable only for its brow-beaten staff and stifling bureaucracy. As it took a while for people to cotton on to 'The Office, so Judge's Office Space bombed at the American box-office. But while its failure in the US led to it going straight-to-disc in the UK, DVD was to prove the film's salvation, strong word-of-mouth eventually making the picture so popular, the distributors were called upon to bestow Special Edition status upon the former orphan.

Office Space's initial failure will seem odd to anyone familiar with this brilliantly realised film. The hero of Judge's story is Peter Gibbons (Livingstone), a burnt-out wuss who lives in fear of being asked to work weekends by his slimeball boss Bill Lumbergh (Cole, incredible).

Doomed to a life of 9-to-5 daydreaming and deadline stress, Peter is finally brought to his senses by a hypnosis session with Mike McShane's portly shrink. No longer burdened with self-doubt, he takes a relaxed attitude to work which amazingly wins over the company's employment assessors. Now all that's left is for Peter and his colleagues Samir and Michael (Naidu and Herman) to get their own back on the firm that's given them so little and taken so much.

While it might have had some influence upon Gervais and Merchant, it would be wrong to think that 'The Office' and Office Space had much in common. There's no documentary approach here and many of the supporting characters are caricatures. Not that they're less memorable for being broadly drawn. From Gary Cole's tour de force turn as Lumbergh, the middle-manager's middle manager, to Stephen Root's twitchy performance as company doormat Milton, Office Space is so rich in hilarious parts, Judge should have been obliged to rent a few out to less amusing films.

In addition to big laughs, Office Space has effective points to make about a working world where people manufacture nothing except enough bitterness and frustration to fuel a dozen Joy Division albums. The writer-director's also keen to point out the attractiveness and attainability of an alternative existence - Peter's lazy Saturday will have workaholics the world over hitting the snooze button. It's jokes, though, that are the main order of the day and Office Space's best gags verge on brilliance - if you thought naming a character Michael Bolton was a one-joke wheeze, wait until you see David Herman's session with John McGinley and Paul Wilson's AOR-savvy work consultants.

A film so good even Jennifer Aniston shines (she plays a waitress in one of those TGI Friday-style eateries which reward the unnaturally peppy), Office Space is an extension of its lead character - a little guy who proves capable of incredible things. And if the emphasis is on the (slightly) larger-than-life, there's no escaping the fact that this is a film about a place where a lot of its audience works. Indeed, the next time you dream of taking a baseball bat to the fax machine, Office Space already beat you to it.

In a nutshell: So good, you should quit work to see it.

By Richard Luck

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Ajay Naidu, John C McGinley, Diedrich Bader, David Herman, Jennifer Aniston, Orlando Jones, Richard Riehle, Mike McShane, Gary Cole, Stephen Root, Greg Pitts, Ron Livingston
  • Director: Mike Judge
  • Screen Writer: Mike Judge
  • Producer: Michael Rotenberg, Daniel Rappaport
  • Photographer: Tim Suhrstedt
  • Composer: John Frizzell

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 The Sitter

    The Sitter

    Jonah Hill stars as a slacker who's forced to fill in as a babysitter for a night, but the kids he's looking after prove more than he can handle when he takes them on a crime-filled trip through NYC

  • Film4 Amy

    Amy

    Senna director Asif Kapadia tells the story of Amy Winehouse in her own words with the use of unseen archive footage and previously unheard tracks

  • Film4 Evil Dead

    Saturday Night Shocks on Film4

    Horror, mystery and suspense stake its claim on the weekend. A new season of Saturday Night Shocks comes to Film4.

  • Film4 Bridesmaids

    Comedy Season 2015 on Film4

    Eight nights of contemporary comedy hits, including first plays of Cuban Fury, American Reunion, The Sitter, and the network premiere of 21 & Over, on Film4

  • Channel 4 Blog

    A personal top eleven at Cannes

    Across all categories and strands, Catherine Bray picks eleven must-sees from Cannes 2015. [caption id="attachment_4724" align="alignnone" width="600"] Salma Hayek in Tale of Tales[/caption] I feel

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Cannes 2015 Wrap Up

    I've just come out of the press screening of the festival's Closing Night film - the ecological documentary The Ice and the Sky - and, for me, Cannes is finished for another year. A few great films an

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share