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Unable to endure another mind-numbing day at Initech Corporation, cubicle slave Peter Gibbons gets fired up... and decides to get fired. Armed with a leisurely new attitude and a sexy new girlfriend, he soon masters the art of neglecting his job, which quickly propels him into the ranks of upper management!
For more about Office Space and the Office Space Blu-ray release, see Office Space Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on February 4, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, David Herman, Ajay Naidu, Alexandra Wentworth, Diedrich Bader
Director: Mike Judge
» See full cast & crew
Office Space Blu-ray Review
Make space in your Blu-ray collection for this Comedy classic.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, February 4, 2009
I celebrate the guy's entire catalogue!
Mike Judge is a maestro of comedy, and Office Space is his magnum opus. He is perhaps the greatest comedic mind of his generation, each of his works capturing the subtleties of everyday life like never before, seeing both the dark side and the funny side all at once, and intertwining the two into some of the finest works of Comedy art this side of Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, or Kevin Smith. It all began with "Beavis and Butt-Head," a farcical, to-the-point, perhaps even disturbing look at America's youth, or at least the bottom rung thereof. Intercut with music videos when it originally aired on MTV, the content of the show may have been lost to some audiences, but its brilliant and side-splitting comedy never failed to capture the corruptions, vices, and most importantly, ignorance of the pair, and through them, Judge's view of a particular slice of modern-day Americana. "King of the Hill," in a way, is more of the same, though certainly subtler in its approach. It's bigger, better scripted, populated by more characters, and looks at everyday life trough the eyes of the Hill family, a middle class trio (plus one) that resides in fictional Arlen, Texas, with dose after dose of social satire on most any subject imaginable. Judge's latest is the completely misunderstood and grossly under-appreciated Idiocracy, a feature-length film starring Luke Wilson (Henry Poole Is Here) that projects the devolution of society far into the future. The film takes an everyday figure, someone who is the epitome of "normal" (in other words, someone straight out of Judge's previous works), and places him 500 years into the future where the average of today is the Einstein of tomorrow. Nevertheless, the director's greatest achievement, and strongest commercial success, is Office Space, a witty, side-splitting, and perfectly-played-and-paced comedy that satirizes the modern American workday and the people who slave away at a meaningless and futureless jobs for uncaring, haughty, and oftentimes ignorant bosses.
Yes, yes it's horrible, this idea.
Office automaton Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston, Band of Brothers) can't stand his job, and every day is the worst day of his life. His boss, Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole, Pineapple Express) is constantly riding his back with his obnoxious, monotone, maybe even a little haughty (he drives a Porsche, after all) ways; his girlfriend, Anne (Alexandra Wentworth), has been acting strange lately; and his painfully dull job at Initech, which keeps him tucked away inside a dreary, lifeless cubicle across the way from the spunky telephone greeter, has him transitioning computer software for the Y2K switchover and on the edge of insanity. His only solace comes from visits with his friends, Michael Bolton (no, not the "no-talent @$% clown", but rather actor David Herman, Futurama: Bender's Game) and Samir Nagheenanajar (Ajay Naidu, Righteous Kill), and their excursions to chain restaurant Chotchkie's to get a glimpse of cute waitress Joanna (Jennifer Aniston, TV's "Friends"). Following a trip to the restaurant and a particularly bad case of the "Mondays," the trio is greeted by co-worker Tom Smykowski (Richard Riehle) who informs them that the company is bringing in a pair of "consultants" to parse the workforce and fire the useless employees. Later, Peter visits an occupational hypnotherapist named Dr. Swanson (Michael McShane) at the request of his girlfriend. Peter is hypnotized and before he can be snapped back out of it, Dr. Swanson collapses and dies. Peter's attitude changes from stressful anxiety to carefree freedom. He fails to show up for work, begins a relationship with Joanna, and even manages to impress the two consultants, Bob Slydell and Bob Porter (John C. McGinley and Paul Wilson, respectively) with his outlook on life at Initech, prompting them to offer him a promotion and a raise. When Peter discovers that he's being promoted but his friends are being fired, the trio set out to get all they can out of the company, but these amateur criminals are bound to slip up somewhere. Meanwhile, office weirdo Milton Waddams (Stephen Root, Dodgeball) fights a losing battle to keep his red Swingline stapler (it doesn't bind up as much as the Boston) and his desk (so he may continue to watch the married squirrels outside), enjoy a piece of birthday cake (he didn't get one last time), and find out what happened to his paycheck (there must be a glitch).
Did you get that memo?
Office Space is one of those rare movies where everything that could go wrong...didn't. Every single solitary little slice of the filmmaking process seems pitch-perfect in each shot. Nothing about the film fails to work at less than 100% efficiency. The script, the casting, the performances, the direction, the soundtrack, all of it is nothing less than ideal; it's as if the film is blessed in every shot, just meant to be from the get-go, and nothing short of brilliant. It is easily one of the most memorable, quotable, and re-watchable films ever made. Most importantly, Office Space is just flat-out funny, though "funny" might not even be a strong enough word to describe it. What makes the humor work so well is that it's completely relatable. Everyone can put themselves in these character's shoes; Peter Gibbons is the epitome of the "every man," a guy who faces the same workplace dilemmas, shares many of the same thoughts, and struggles with the same sort of life problems as most of the audience, acting as a sort of voice, if not a vicarious outlet for all of the frustrations, anger, confusion, and headaches of the real world. Even if he doesn't connect, there is bound to be someone in the film that does. Writer/Director Mike Judge understands the world in which he, and his audience, lives, and manages to squeeze in just about every personal and work-related issue that he can in the film's lightning-quick 89 minute runtime, each explored and commented on with the foremost clarity, conciseness, and humor.
It's not that I'm lazy, it that I just don't care!
Office Space is a rare cinematic experience that works in complete harmony. However, if any one segment of the film stands above the rest in making it work, no doubt it is in the varied and fantastic performances of the entire cast. Each cast member, from Ron Livingston on down to the very bottom of the credits list, understands completely the movie and their role in it. Each character is superbly crafted in the script, with each actor lending a unique personality and finishing touches to those they portray. No two are completely alike, save for, perhaps the consultants, the "two Bobs," though there is a reason they share the same name. They are practically clones of one another, mentally and emotionally anyway, signifying the dullness and the routine of office life where everything is virtually identical day in and day out, from the bland furniture to the slave-like routine of digging through the code and ensuring it is all Y2K compliant. The rest of the characters are designed and executed very well, and repeat viewings will open up every cubicle and allow astute viewers to pick up on the minutia that puts those last few finishing touches on the characters, their personalities, and their place in the film. For example, viewers may note a dead plant adorning Milton's desk, representative of his off-kilter personality, showing he tries to fit in, to be normal, but just can't keep it together. There is also Michael's calculator wristwatch, fashionable in the 1980s but a low-tech joke even in 1999, but appropriately nerdy. The rest of the characters are superbly written and well-developed, even those with little screen time and playing secondary or tertiary parts in the film. Peter's co-worker Tom Smykowski, his next door neighbor Lawrence, his hypnotherapist Dr. Swanson, the "crack addict" magazine salesman Steve, and even background characters that only stand around the office appearing lifeless and apathetic offer standout performances in whatever role they have, no matter how large or how small. No doubt, the primary characters serve as the focal point and are absolutely fantastic in their own right, but it is the rest of the cast that truly steals the show.
Office Space Blu-ray, Video Quality
Work is anything but dreary on this Blu-ray edition of Office Space. 20th Century Fox brings this catalogue favorite to the high definition format with impressive results. Presented in 1080p and framed inside a 1.85:1 window, the film has never looked better for home viewing. The image is sharp and clean with no blemishes, minimal grain, clean lines, sharp foreground objects, and acceptable background detail. Color reproduction is fantastic. The film sports a myriad of colors, in spots, particularly in the varied shirts the Initech employees wear that contrast with the dull, gray, lifeless office that is clean and efficient but nothing else in terms of visual pizzaz, save for that red Swingline. Flesh tones are spot-on, black levels are solid, and detail is excellent. The disc brings out every pimple and wart on Milton's face; his magnified eyes behind super thick glasses stand out nicely, popping out of his head, or so it seems, and into living rooms everywhere. Exterior shots, too, look fantastic. The movie presents a very natural, pleasing look; the green grass and leaves, the gray concrete parking lot, and the automobiles sitting in it offer high quality visuals that look as good as if the viewer were seeing the imagery outside a clean window. Office Space features a very simple and basic appearance. There is nothing fancy going on here, but the intended look of the film shines through with excellent results.
Office Space Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Office Space won't smash up any sound systems with its DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack, but it's an efficient worker bee that conveys every sonic nuance of the film wonderfully. Office Space features a laid back sound design that leaves the surround speakers virtually silent and the subwoofer sitting idle through much of the experience. In fact, bass only comes into play two or three times, primarily during those scenes featuring a robust Hip-Hop accompaniment. The best moments for low frequency effects come during a montage in chapter 21 and the famous printer destruction scene in chapter 23. Otherwise, the movie is primarily dialogue heavy, which is reproduced crisply and evenly through the center channel. A few ambient effects are heard around the office; a ringing telephone here or a radio reporting a Spanish shipwreck there play nicely across the front speakers, with good placement and pinpoint accuracy, but otherwise, there's not much going on to add environmental support to the experience. All in all, this track does all that is asked of it, nothing more, nothing less. It's not that it's lazy, it's just that it has nothing else to do.
Office Space Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Office Space prints up several enjoyable bonus features. Out of the Office: An 'Office Space' Retrospective With Mike Judge (480p, 27:03) is a feature broken up into several segments -- The Cast, Mike Judge, The Printer, The Red Stapler, and The Reality Factor. This piece features the director reminiscing on the construction of the film, going back to his original animations and moving on to share his thoughts regarding the ensemble cast. The piece also includes interview clips with many of the primary actors discussing the characters they play, in addition to commenting on some of the film's memorable scenes. Many of the comments are incredibly insightful and funny, and the piece is a definite must-watch. Executive Games allows viewers to play several games during the movie: Grab the Stapler, where the primary goal is to steal the red Swingline from Milton's desk, Printer Beat-Down, challenging players to do as much damage as they can on a jammed printer with one of three weapons (bat, pipe, or shoe), and Whack-a-Drone, a game where players must get employees back on task by hitting them with a stack of TPS reports. Jump to Conclusions 2.0 is as worthless as Smykowski's idea, a feature that prompts users to ask a question and press enter. The mat then randomly selects one of the squares with an answer on it. It's sort of like a magic 8-ball, only worse. Post-it Pandemonium / The Apathy of Man: History Track is another pop-up trivia track that appears at random intervals over the movie, on Post-it notes, of course. They cover nearly the entire screen at times, and the only thing more random than when they appear is the information they provide. This set of supplements is concluded with a series of eight standard-definition deleted scenes and the film's theatrical trailer (480p, 2:27).
Office Space Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
As far as Comedies go, they just don't come any better than Office Space. Satirical, clever, memorable, quotable, long-lasting, and flat-out hilarious, Office Space has every base covered, and then some. Between the superb casting and acting, efficient direction that allows the satire and wit to shine through unobstructed, a soundtrack that plays uncannily well with the movie, too-numerous-to-list classic scenes, and of course, a red Swingline stapler, it's no wonder that Office Space is a fan favorite and burgeoning classic. 20th Century Fox's Blu-ray release doesn't disappoint. The disc sports a fantastic picture quality, a strong supporting soundtrack, and a few good supplements. Every movie fan needs to see Office Space at least once, and there is absolutely no better way to experience it. Why not duck out of the office and go pick up a copy? Very highly recommended.
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