Why is Office Space one of the best comedies of 1999?
Office Space is on my list of top comedies because it is the perfect fantasy for anyone trapped in a horrible cubicle job. Office Space is like Dilbert, if Dilbert actually did anything about the horrible day to day drudgery and sociopathic characters that fill his life. What happens is Peter Gibbons (Ron Livigston) is in one of those standard corporate jobs, toiling away at unproductive tasks while being swamped with unnecessary levels of bureaucracy.
One of the endless layers of management- makes you feel icky just to look at him, eh?
Peter (and his co-workers) are pushed to the edge by the tediousness of their jobs and constant harassment by the seemingly endless layers of bosses, VPs, and two consultants who are hired to trim the fat from the company.
To top it off, Peter has an annoying girlfriend who never cuts him any slack. Anyways, one day, Peter basically says “Fuck it” and starts to do what he wants. He starts to live life instead of letting himself just float like some sort of overworked, overstressed jellyfish. It’s great to watch his often hilarious acts of rebellion, as he goes farther and farther into acts of disobedience until he is in over his head- bringing his co-workers (or co-conspirators) in with him.
This is what happens when you push workers to the limit.
That brings me to his co-workers, a lovely bunch of repressed cubicle dwellers wallowing in mediocrity. You’ve got an east Indian guy with a seemingly unpronounceable name (to his great chagrin), a white guy who wishes he was a black dude who shares a name with a singer he hates, and my personal favourite, Milton.
Milton is meek, mumbling, and gets pushed around ooover and over. He mostly mumbles about people taking his favourite stapler without asking. Here’s Milton with his favourite stapler- this image pretty much sums up the character.
Right now, he is thinking
“They better not touch my stapler!”
Why is this on my list of top comedies? It’s got an engaging story, it’s consistently funny, and well, I’m laughing just thinking about. It’s about what happens when people are pushed too far, and decide to actively change their life instead of passively accepting what happens. It’s great to see the repressed workers unite against the capitalist structure that takes away all of their joi de vivre (am I sounding too Marxist?
Can you tell she hates her life?
A girl, of course, what else! Jennifer Aniston, a nice love interest for Peter. Just another perk of getting motivated. She’s stuck in a job that’s even worse that Peter’s… she’s required to wear at least 20 pieces of flair. I feel like she could have been in Waiting, too. She’s got her own problems, including her nightmare co-worker who consistently makes her look bad by comparison, and her boss who tries (and fails) to instill in her the upbeat and cheesy atmosphere of the tacky restaurant she works in.
Did you like this movie? Leave a non-spoiler comment on what you loved or hated about it, and whether you think it deserves a place on my list of top comedies!
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