It’s summed up by the tagline “Work Sucks”. Writer/director Mike Judge tapped into that monotonous feeling of employment in the confines of a cubicle in Office Space. It’s one of the funniest films ever made and the satire of employment moves beyond the fictional workplaces within the film to all areas of working life.
1. “Sounds like somebody’s got a case of the Mondays”
Every workplace (especially an office) has an awkward culture that employees endure. Within the walls of the fictional ‘Initech’, Judge has a field day with all the minor gripes that add up to one big headache for his characters. Uncomfortable interactions with fellow employees, stubborn office appliances and niggles from management that interrupt actual work being done are brilliantly satirised.
2. Gary Cole
Years before we met the likes of David Brent or Michael Scott from the UK/US incarnations of The Office - there was Bill Lumbergh. Cole created first great stealth bomber boss with his characterisation. Instead of being ‘the boss from hell’ that’s always yelling and ordering employees around, Lumbergh stalks the hallways of ‘Initech’ with a whiff of upper management about him. He’s never seen doing any work and is the ultimate puppet who enforces the company’s policies in the most non-confrontational and uncomfortable ways possible. Cole’s performance is phenomenal and it’s frightening how close he gets to the real thing.
3. Not a moment wasted
Office Space clocks in at just less than 89 minutes. It’s the perfect run-time for a comedy and every second of screen time is used to push the plot forward and develop characters. It’s a neat little package of pure comedy.
4. Dry wit
There are no comedic set pieces or moments of someone bumbling their way to a toilet before they poop themselves in Office Space. The film is layered with a dry sense of humor that flows through the dialogue. There are wonderful observations such as the sadistic photocopier/fax machine, life sucking traffic jams and something as simple as a character cursed with being named Michel Bolton.
5. The people’s champion
Office Space presents itself as the champion to anyone who has had to endure a dud boss, shoddy company or just a crap day at work. There is a revenge element to the plot that lives out the fantasy of ‘sticking it’ to an employer. In a non-communist way Office Space is a film for the people.