In my experience, everyone who works for a software company swears their job is right out of Office Space. Another gem from the apparently magic year of film that was 1999, this film is always universally relatable because who hasn’t had a job or boss they hated? The film has a lot of familiar faces and was written Mike Judge before he was usurped by Matt Park and Trey Stone as the king of seemingly dumb but topically brilliant comedy. Ron Livingstone (who really should get more work because he’s always enjoyable) lives everyone fantasy as he is hypnotized to no longer care about his job and sets out to rob the company blind.
Peter Gibbons hates his life. He has a soul-sucking job and suspects that his girlfriend is cheating on him. He sees a hypnotherapist to learn how to cope with his unsatisfying job, but when the therapist dies during the session. Peter is stuck in a hypnotized state, and no longer cares about his job. Ironically, the less he cares, the more the consultants looking to fire people are impressed by him. So, he gets a promotion for slacking off at work, while his hard working co-workers are days away from being laid off. Armed with this information, Peter encourage his friends to join him in screwing the company through a computer virus.
Much of Initech’s policies are still used today. Companies across the country ask consultants to help them cut costs but letting people go, outsourcing jobs and asking those employees they keep to work a little harder for the good of the company. This film continues to speak to viewers because it continues to be reality. A character like Stephen Root’s Milton is an ultimate symbol of the American worker, as he is pushed further and further by his many bosses until he burns the building to the ground.
Every once in a while Jennifer Aniston shows she may be cooler than many of her career choices would make her seem. While she’s most famous fro Friends and mindless romantic comedies, she’ll surprise you every few years by doing something edgier. This was one of her first non-Rachel type roles and it suits her. She’s fun as the Kung Fu loving, slightly grumpy chain restaurant waitress. For years I only saw this movie on Comedy Central, so I had never seen her best moment, when she flips off her flair loving boss.
The movie was not hit at the box office but became a success on video. It’s one of those movies that has made its way into the pop culture lexicon. People still accuse you of having “a case of the Mondays” and talk about “Oh” faces, a special edition red Swingline stapler was sold, and “Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangster” is still an awesome party jam. We’ll never see sequel and Judge’s best work is behind him, but it’s the most perfect office comedy ever made. If you haven’t seen this one, definitely check it out, and if it’s been awhile since you’re last viewing, watch it again and see how little has changed since 1999.