Image Courtesy of Amazon.com
Ron Livingston……….Peter Gibbons
David Herman………Michael Bolton
Ajay Naidu……….Samir Nagheenanajar
Gary Cole……….Bill Lumbergh
Opening in the doldrums of February 1999, Office Space opened at $4 million en route to making slightly over its $10 million production budget. For Mike Judge, creator of Beavis and Butthead, it was a step away from the series and into something different. While he has stayed in animation, going from the cult classic to one of the best serial animation shows currently on air in King of the Hill, Office Space took on a life of its own after its initial theatre run. And after a bare bones release, a special edition (with flair) has been released to take advantage of its popularity surge. How it got as popular as it does is a matter of a smaller screen: the television.
Replayed incessantly on Comedy Central, Office Space has taken on a life of its own since 1999. It has hit the same sort of status for office workers that PCU has attained for college students; it’s a barometer of an experience that’s easily relatable. The characters and corporate nonsense that goes on happen in the same sort of manner it happens in the movie. High-paid consultants come and go, layoffs are a way of life, and annoying co-workers are the rule. It’s a universal experience.
Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) is the everyman that people easily identify with. He works at a large corporation (Initech), has a boss he doesn’t like in Mr. Lumbergh (Gary Cole), a couple of dorky work pals in Michael Bolton (David Herman) and Samir (Ajay Naidu) and the same old routine. So when Peter falls into a deep state of relaxation during a group therapy session and a mishap leaves him in it, oblivious to the nuances of his life. From there it’s a whacky walk back through his job and life, as he does the sorts of things that he normally wouldn’t have. Including ask out Joanna (Jennifer Aniston), the impossibly hot waitress at Chotchkies (a pretty weak imitation of T.G.I. Fridays-type restaurants). Peter’s revolt against the system, including gutting a fish on the TPS reports made infamous throughout the early portions of the film, is a smart funny comedy from a man known for rampant stupidity.
The film is rather smart in both its dialogue and ideas. During Peter’s scheme to get back at the company, Michael has a rather interesting idea involving programming code. Instead of acting like its original, he admits it was borrowed from Superman 3. Judge shows some real nuances in how he develops his characters; it’s an intelligent comedy and captures Corporate America fairly well.
Office Space, though, is basically a hit and miss comedy with more hits than misses. It’s funny, but there aren’t too many jokes that are really great. There’s a lot of good humor but not a whole lot of home run style comedy bits. It’s a series of easily imitated and repeated gags and one-liners that have endured and are still funny, but nothing is truly knockout funny.
Score : 7.5 / 10
Shown in a widescreen format with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, nothing has been changed for this new release. It looks good, with clear color separation, but its exactly the same as the bare bones release.
Presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, the special edition of Office Space doesn’t sound any better than it did on the bare bones releases. It is mainly a dialogue driven film scored with gangster rap, and it sounds good, but it sounds just as good as the prior release does.
Out of the Office: An Office Space retrospective with Mike Judge follows Judge and the principle members of the cast (except for Jennifer Aniston, seen in archival footage) reminiscing about the film. Running around 27 minutes, it’s an interesting look at the film and its influence. It’s more of a fluff piece than anything else, though, as they don’t get in to too much depth about the film. It’s more of a couple interesting tidbits thrown in to the usual “everything was wonderful” stuff.
Deleted scenes from the original are included on this new edition. While still rough and unfinished, they aren’t anything that adds too much to the film.
Score : 6 / 10