Office Space is a 1999 satirical comedy. It stars Ron Livingston as Peter Gibbons, Jennifer Aniston as Joanna, David Herman as Michael Bolton, Ajay Naidu as Samir, Diedrich Bader as Lawrence, and Gary Cole as Bill Lumbergh. The producers are Daniel Rappaport (TV’s “King of the Hill”), and Michael Rotenberg (Encino Man). It is directed by Mike Judge (TV’s “Beavis and Butthead”).
The story is about an unhappy programmer named Peter Gibbons who works at Initech. He loathes going to work and constantly hearing about his mistakes from his boss Bill Lumbergh who never seems to listen to him. One Friday night after a long week at work, Peter goes to see an occupational hypnotherapist named Dr. Swanson. He sends Peter into a state of relaxation but before he can bring him out of it, Swanson suddenly has a heart attack and dies. Peter, still relaxed, returns home for the night. The next morning he sleeps in, ignoring calls from Lumbergh to come in to work. His girlfriend Anne calls him and wonders why he isn’t at work. He hangs up on her while she is lecturing him. She calls right back and leaves an angry message breaking up with him. The following Monday, he doesn’t return to work. Instead, he goes to a local restaurant where there is an attractive waitress named Joanna whom he was too scared to ask out, but now does. He explains to her about his new way of life, deciding not to go to work simply because he doesn’t feel like it. Peter goes to work only to pick up his address book but his friend Michael Bolton tells him that he has a meeting with two consultants who are both named Bob. They are impressed by Peter’s honesty about how unmotivating his job is and how many different bosses he has to report to. As a result of this, he is promoted while his friends Michael and Samir are laid off. The three friends decide to send Initech a computer virus that sends fractions of a penny from it to a special bank account that they control. But, upon checking the balance a few days later, discover that it sent too much money to that account and Initech would notice that it was missing. They start to panic about what may happen to them when they are caught. Peter decides to take all the blame, as it was his idea to begin with. He writes a confession note to Lumbergh and puts it in an envelope along with the money and leaves it under his supervisor’s office door. Peter then prepares himself to go to jail.
What makes this movie so funny is that everything in it is true, mainly in regards to what life is like working in an office everyday. The film opens with Peter Gibbons in a traffic jam on the way to work on a Monday morning. When he sees a lane of traffic is going faster, he pulls into that lane only to stop while the lane he was in starts moving again. Just after arriving at work, his bosses immediately come down on him for not putting the proper cover page on his last TPS report. First Bill Lumbergh tells him about it while Peter tells him that he recognized the mistake and won’t do it again. Lumbergh doesn’t seem to hear this as he informs Peter that he’ll get another copy of the memo sent out to him, even though Peter already has it. Then another one of his bosses, Dom, comes up to his cubicle and essentially tells Peter the same thing that Lumbergh just did.
One of the great performances in Office Space is Stephen Root’s portrayal of the mumbling programmer Milton Waddams. Milton is constantly being asked to move his desk back until finally he is moved down to the basement all by himself. But the one constant is his red stapler which Lumbergh takes back, secretly infuriating Milton. Also, there is a scene when the whole office is celebrating Bill Lumbergh’s birthday. As they are passing out pieces of cake, Milton explains that last time he didn’t get a piece and this time he’ll be sure to get one. Instead of sympathizing with him, one of his coworkers tells him to keep passing. When all the pieces have been taken, Milton is again left with no piece of cake.
To wrap, Office Space is an extremely funny film because of its accuracy in depicting the many unpleasantries of life in a cubicle office.