directed by Mike Judge
It’s high time I get back to being productive, and speaking of being productive, one of the most cultishly beloved business comedies of all time goes by the name Office Space, which is definitely Mike Judge’s finest filmic achievement (though I do have a soft spot for Beavis and Butthead Do America). Office Space tells the story of Initech drone Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston, rocking desert dry comedic timing), computer geek and cubicle jockey who hates his life so much that each new day is the worst day of his life. His only joy comes from fishing and imagining a life where he can enjoy the luxury of sloth, but when a chance encounter with a hypnotist (I know, the convention is trite, but you have to be okay with it to be on board with the film’s spirit) help Peter to relax and show his true colors. When outside “consultants” arrive to help Initech streamline its operations, Peter and buddies Michael (David Herman is a perfect pillar of crazed, geeky pissedoffedness) and Samir (Ajay Naidu is a token delight) devise a Superman 3 style plan to rip off Initech and get administrative style revenge. Jennifer Aniston is always wonderful, and she breaks her Rachel Green type (which was a great character for a great sitcom) to fantastic effect as low key waitress Joanna, object of Peter's desire and general ray of sunshine upon the film's happenings. Hats off to Gary Cole, who takes corporate smarm to hilarious and almost poetic heights as Bill Lumberg, boss and general source of all the world’s evils, and Stephen Root will simultaneously split your sides and creep you out as Milton (whose character’s short film was the seed from which sprouted the Office Space flower). Judge’s film is a wonderful time capsule film that expresses the amiable frustration many Gen Xers felt at the time. Think American Psycho, minus the coke and the mutilations.
Trivia: Before Office Space, Swingline didn’t even make a red stapler. Judge painted it red for the film simply to make it distinctive, but the response was so great that Swingline started manufacturing one, and it is now their most popular model. Keep that tidbit in the old noodle; you never know when you’ll have an entertainment question for the win in Trivial Pursuit. BTW, if that situation ever arises, please let me know.