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Mike Judge
Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston, David Herman, Ajay Naidu, Diedrich Bader, Stephen Root, Gary Cole, Richard Riehle, Alexandra Wentworth
Writing Credits:
Mike Judge

Work Sucks.

With more laughs, more fun, and more flair, this all-new Special Edition DVD is a sure cure for a case of the Mondays! Get motivated with writer/director Mike Judge's all-new retrospective documentary. Jazz up your TPS reports with screensavers and audio clips from the movie. Check out the hilarious deleted scenes and tell your boss where to stick them (if you dare). It's everything you love about Office Space ... cubed!

Unable to endure another mind-numbing day at Initech Corporation, cubicle slave Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) gets fired up and decides to get fired. Armed with a leisurely new attitude and a sexy new girlfriend (Jennifer Aniston), he soon masters the art of neglecting his work, which quickly propels him into the ranks of upper management!

Box Office:
$10 million.
Opening Weekend
$4.231 million on 1740 screens.
Domestic Gross
$10.824 million.

Rated R

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby 2.0
French Dolby 2.0

Runtime: 89 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 11/1/2005

• “Out of the Office: An Office Space Retrospective with Mike Judge”
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Office Space: Special Edition - With Flair! (1999)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 26, 2006)

When anyone makes a list of cult classics from the Nineties, 1999’s Office Space clearly must occupy a spot. Along with 1998’s The Big Lebowski, it offers one of the decade’s films that truly defines the concept of the “cult classic”. Both were largely ignored during their theatrical runs but both came to earn substantial and passionate audiences on home video.

And during the fall of 2005, both appeared as special edition DVDs that greatly disappointed most of those fans. I’ll address that side of the Office Space disc later, but now I just want to discuss the film itself. Space introduces us to the staff at Initech. We concentrate on cubicle drone Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) and his pals Samir Nagheenanajar (Ajay Naidu) and Michael Bolton (David Herman). Peter pines for cute waitress Joanna (Jennifer Aniston) but doesn’t pursue her because he thinks he should work things out with his girlfriend Anne (Alexandra Wentworth).

This leads him to a hypnotherapist (Micheal McShane). After Peter states that he hates his job and everyday’s worse than the last, Dr. Swanson induces a soothing, pleasant state of mind. However, Dr. Swanson keels over before he can snap Peter out of this condition.

Because of this, Peter stays permanently content. He stops caring about his job and lives life on his own terms. This means that he comes across as very confident, and that pays off in many ways. Peter impresses the Initech consultants (John C. McGinley and Paul Willson) brought in to orchestrate layoffs; his straight talk pegs him to rise up the corporate ladder. Peter also breaks up with Anne and quickly lands Joanna.

All isn’t perfect, though. When the consultants lay off Samir and Michael, Peter leads them in a computer virus scheme designed to earn money. Ala Superman III, this takes fractions of pennies from various transactions and sends them to a special account. The money adds up and becomes substantial over time. However, things go awry, and the rest of the movie follows the results.

When Office Space hit in 1999, writer/director Mike Judge remained best known for Beavis and Butt-Head. Heck, I suppose he’s still best known for that series, and that may have affected the film’s reception. Viewers who expected it to fall along the same lines as B&B would be disappointed, for Space much more closely echoes the low-key humor of Judge’s series King of the Hill.

Not that I mean to say that Space and Hill are similar. The two efforts look at dissimilar subjects and don’t connect in obvious thematic ways. However, they both derive much of their humor from small twists of real-life situations. They’re subtle pieces that don’t often provide gales of laughter. Instead, they resonate with truth and quiet amusement.

Usually I criticize films that lack coherent stories, but in the case of Office Space, I feel the opposite. The flick works best when it lacks any real narrative. For its first half, it’s a blast. Although I’ve never worked in a setting like Initech, I can understand the humor and connect to the gags. The film offers a veritable catchphrase factory as we meet all of the personalities at the company.

Once the formal plot kicks into motion, though, the flick starts to sag. In its initial half, it takes more of a Seinfeld line. As we watch Peter succeed at work due to his unusual behavior, it strongly echoes the Seinfeld in which George prospered when he did the opposite of his usual instincts. Space doesn’t rip off that show, but it follows a similar line.

This gets lost along the way as the movie digs into its criminal caper elements. That’s a shame, for the second half provides substantially less humor and entertainment. The characters feel less real and the situations lack the same punch. It seems like Judge panicked and decided he couldn’t make a movie about nothing so he tacked on a plot.

That’s too bad since the first half is so good. I think the story of Peter’s ascension is more than enough to carry the film, especially since its main pleasures come from the little moments. For instance, one of the few memorable moments in the second half occurs when borderline autistic coworker Milton (Stephen Root) frets whether he’ll get a piece of a birthday cake. Space needs more of that and less of a criminal caper.

As an aside, Space presents some of the most rampant product placement I’ve seen. Everywhere you look, we see Pepsi ads or Pepsi products. Joanna drinks what appears to be the same giant Pepsi coming and going from a party! They should retitle the flick Pepsi Presents Office Space.

Even with those negatives, I still think Office Space succeeds. The first half engenders enough good will to make the second half tolerable. It’s the kind of movie you can watch repeatedly and still enjoy.

The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Office Space appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Given its subject matter, I didn’t expect a lot of dynamic visuals, but I thought this was a disappointing transfer nonetheless.

Sharpness was consistently inconsistent. Parts of the movie demonstrated good definition and delineation, while others came across as awfully mushy and soft. Matters varied a lot, and the presence of some moderate edge enhancement didn’t help. I noticed no jagged edges or shimmering, but source flaws caused distractions. Throughout the movie, I witnessed a mix of specks and marks. These didn’t dominate but they appeared too frequently given the movie’s vintage.

As expected, the film displayed low-key colors. This was a drab palette with very few lively tones. I thought they were a bit muddier than they should be even given the design choices, but the hues were generally acceptable. Blacks tended to be somewhat flat, while shadows were decent. Some low-light shots seemed slightly dense, but most were fine. This was a watchable but mediocre image.

To my surprise, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Office Space had a little kick to it. Make no mistake: much of the mix remained restrained. The office setting didn’t offer a lot of opportunity for slam-bang action, and the track usually reflected a sense of light ambience.

However, the audio managed to become involving on occasion. A few musical numbers filled the spectrum well, and some of the showier sequences like Peter's dreams opened up matters nicely. The surrounds added enough to make them useful.

No issues with audio quality emerged. Speech was consistently natural and crisp, and I noticed no signs of edginess. Music demonstrated pretty good dynamics. Some of the rap tunes used the subwoofer well, and the tracks were always nicely represented. Effects tended to be subdued, but the louder bits scored. Again, those usually popped up in dreams, and they boasted deep bass. This was a perfectly satisfying mix for this movie.

How did the picture and audio of this 2005 DVD compare with the original 1999 release? While both presented virtually identical audio, I actually preferred the old disc’s non-anamorphic transfer. To my surprise, the prior transfer was a little better defined than the anamorphic one. The new DVD seemed softer and murkier than its predecessor. Neither soared, but I definitely preferred the old one.

Despite its status as a “Special Edition – with Flair!”, only a few extras pop up here. Out of the Office: An Office Space Retrospective with Mike Judge runs 27 minutes and one second. It features movie clips, archival pieces, and interviews with writer/director Mike Judge and actors Gary Cole, Ajay Naidu, Ron Livingston, Jennifer Aniston (from 1999), David Herman, and Stephen Root. The show looks at the origins of the movie and the “Milton” shorts that inspired it, cast, characters and performances, Judge’s work, various scene specifics and the movie’s legacy.

As a documentary, “Retrospective” proves less than complete but entertaining. It focuses mostly on the actors and their work, and in that realm, it gives us some nice notes. The show is consistently informative and enjoyable – it just doesn’t cover all the bases. It works for what it is, though, and I think it’s got more than enough good content to make it worthwhile.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we get eight Deleted Scenes. Most of them serve as minor additions and don’t give us anything related to the story. There’s some amusement in them, though, and we learn about Lumbergh’s fate as well as a potential downside to Peter’s new career at the end. The scenes are definitely fun to see, minor as they are.

Inconsistent but mostly entertaining, Office Space works best when it doesn’t bother to emphasize plot. It provides a funny and incisive look at the workplace and succeeds in its low-key way. The DVD presents pretty good audio but suffers from lackluster visuals and only a few extras. I like the movie enough to recommend it, but this isn’t a special DVD.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.8333 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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