Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) hates his job at Initech and so do his two best friends, Michael (David Herman) and Samir (Ajay Naidu). When Peter learns Michael and Samir are getting fired, they hatch a plan to get back at their company and steal millions.
Office Space can sound a bit dated based on the main character’s job duties (converting all dates from two to four digits for the start of the 21st century) but it soars far past its setting. The humor is just as great whether watching for the first time now or when it first came out in 1999. If you work in an office like I do then there will certainly be something you can relate to.
Maybe I just relate to it pretty well since I also work in a cubicle programming all day (although nothing as mundane as what Peter endures) but I absolutely adored this movie. I couldn’t help but compare it to Christmas Vacation, not in content but how they satire their settings. Christmas Vacation took a standard family holiday party and amplified the little triggers and annoyances, like the in-laws and obnoxious neighborhood lights. Office Space does the same thing only in an office. Think of anything you hate about working in an office and this film pokes fun at it. There is an incompetent manager, a paranoid co-worker, the office printer is always jamming, and other small things that you may not even think about. They are all here.
Right away, this movie’s opening credits scene perfectly sets up how boring the main characters’ lives are and what kind of people they are. Not even five minutes into the film and it is easy to understand Peter, Michael, and Samir. I can’t think of many films that can establish their characters without them even saying a word, or rather without full or coherent sentences. Not only that, but Mike Judge does a great job of creating running gags. Many of them die off about halfway through the film but the longer they go on, they funnier they seem to get.
The credits state that the movie is based off Judge’s Milton animated shorts, so it’s interesting that he is regulated to a background character, almost like the b-plot of your standard sitcom episode. This actually was an ingenious move because I don’t think the character of Milton could have carried the movie himself. However, when his story intersects with Peter’s, the result is brilliant.
Stephen Root is perfect as Milton. Root’s bumbling and tough talk when the boss isn’t around had me laughing every time he was on screen. David Herman and Ajay Naidu as Michael and Samir were excellent as well. I feel almost any actor with decent comedic timing could have played Peter but Ron Livingston does good in the role. And Jennifer Aniston, well, she’s Jennifer Aniston, how can she be anything but great?
Many times throughout the movie, particularly when Peter, Michael and Samir are together, there is gangster rap playing. It sounds hilariously misplaced. It’s not what you’d expect as background music with these three but is somehow spot-on and somehow works in the atmosphere.
Office Space is a fantastic parody about working in an office. Whether you’ve actually worked in an office full of cubicles yourself or not, chances are you can still connect with the characters and some of the people and workplace irritations they have to deal with, making it accessible to everyone.
Peter: It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.
Cast & Crew
Mike Judge – Director / Writer
John Frizzell – Composer
Ron Livingston – Peter Gibbons
Jennifer Aniston – Joanna
David Herman – Michael Bolton
Ajay Naidu – Samir Nagheenanajar
Diedrich Bader – Lawrence
Stephen Root – Milton Waddams
Gary Cole – Bill Lumbergh
Richard Riehle – Tom Smykowski
Alexandra Wentworth – Anne
Joe Bays – Dom Portwood
John C. McGinley – Bob Slydell
Paul Wilson – Bob Porter
Todd Duffey – Brian
Dr. Swanson – Michael McShane