Office Space (1999)



“No! Not again! Why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam! I swear to God one of these days I’m just going to kick this piece of s***out of the window.”“No! Not again! Why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam! I swear to God one of these days I’m just going to kick this piece of s***out of the window.”

“No! Not again! Why does it say paper jam when there is no paper jam! I swear to God one of these days I’m just going to kick this piece of s***out of the window.”


Oh, the Irony that “Office Space” depicts of corporate life. The endless cycle of sitting in unnecessary traffic, avoiding to the best of your ability the static shock that comes from touching a doorknob and then making your way to your own little office cube to be bombarded by coworkers excessive amplified chattering while being reminding of one mistake by 20 different people. That would be enough to turn an eager fresh-faced ready to take on the world worker to an office drone stuck in the matrix who dreads hearing their alarm clock sound Monday morning.

“You must have a case of the Mondays” the same person says at least five times in the span of twenty minutes. That alone would drive anyone off a cliff. It sure does for Peter (Ron Livingston). The moment he gets into his 4×4 cubicle his monotone headache of a supervisor Bill Lumbergh (Gary Cole) drops by to tell Peter everything he’s doing wrong with the TPS reports instead of lifting him up and motivating him. One person is enough to prove a point, and Peter knows he made the mistake saying it will never happen again, but to have more supervisors drop by instantly after Lumbergh to beat a dead horse about it is criminal.

“It’s a “Jump to Conclusions Mat”! You see, you have this mat, with different CONCLUSIONS written on it.”

Peter’s escape at Initech is his buddies Michael Bolton (David Herman) and Samir (Ajay Naidu). No, Michael has no relation to the singer Michael Bolton – that is our Michael’s kryptonite. It gets under his skin whenever that question is asked. The brilliance is that it’s used as a tool just enough times to piss off Michael before it becomes annoying and repetitive. Samir just wants to do a good job, but his demise is that piece of crap office hardware also known as a printer that jams every. single. time. I’ve been around enough printers to lose my sanity over. Luckily, there are rage rooms. Imagine if that’s the business that Samir and Michael think up.

Peter is dragged to a hypnotherapist to hopefully solve his woes with work. Unfortunately, the therapist suffers a heart attack while Peter is under. Life is instantly better; Peter no longer cares about working weekends and just sleeps instead. His toxic relationship ends, and he bonds with two corporate examiners known as the Bob’s (John C. McGinley & Paul Willson). Peter’s nonchalance also gets him a promotion while majority of Initech’s workers get laid off. This is where the plot is formed to rip off Initech. Its completely derivative but the beauty is that Michael and Peter know it is – they even mention that Superman III did the exact same thing.

“Yeah, I just stare at my desk, but it looks like I’m working. I do that for probably another hour after lunch too, I’d say in a given week I probably only do about fifteen minutes of real, actual, work.”

Peter also finds solace in a waitress across the street who works at Chotchkie’s named Joanna (Jennifer Aniston) Joanna, funny enough has issues with her manager who demands she “express herself” with pieces of flair. The standard is 15 pieces of flair but a different employee Brian (Todd Duffey), who looks like he’s about to be called on for the Price is Right has 36 pieces of flair. The back and forth about flair gets to Joanna as she poetically expresses herself to her boss Stan (Mike Judge) and the patrons having lunch.

And then there’s Milton (Stephen Root). Based on the animated short series titled Milton, the character is practically legend. Milton is the unsung hero of this story. Every ten minutes he’s forcefully moved to a different cubicle where mutters false threats under his breath. Somehow he ends up in a middle cubicle with no exit or entrance. What’s fascinating about Milton is his obsession with his red stapler. Lumbergh steals from him setting off the nuke that is Milton who just wants his stapler back and a piece of birthday cake.

“Oh, and remember, next Friday…is Hawaiian shirt day. So, you know, if you want to, go ahead and wear a Hawaiian shirt and jeans.”

The dialogue is brilliantly written for all characters, it’s smart and witty. Office Space isn’t made to be a laugh out loud comedy. It does have those moments but it’s the irony that makes this story funny. The irony being ‘that’s exactly like my company’, ‘Lumbergh is basically my boss’ and on. Mike Judge does a fantastic job of making the viewer see themselves in the shoes of the characters. Again, there’s plenty of office hardware that I’d love to destroy with a baseball bat in an open field while 90’s rap plays. Speaking of, the music fits perfectly. It serves as the internal mood that Peter is a gangster for rebelling at work. Knocking a wall down, playing Tetris while eating Cheetos at work is such a big f*** you to his corporate overlords.

Overall, Office Space is a cultural Icon, a film that is referenced countless times in other shows/ films. The printer scene, the red stapler and the flair are apart of cinema’s legacy. It’s easily one of the most quotable films. Even with its low box office return, this film is a cult classic and one of the best comedies ever made. If I were to rate Office Space, I’d rate it a 4 out of 5.

So, tell me guys, have you seen Office Space and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.

Office Space is written and directed by Mike Judge is Rated R and has an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Office Space was released on February 19th, 1999 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 29 minutes. Office Space can be bought by online retailers such as Itunes, Google, Amazon and Vudu.

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*I do not own these photos used in this article; all rights reserved to the copyright holder*

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