Office Space

Intermittently funny comedy that takes place in an anonymous suburb where several rank and file employees of a soul-sucking software company watch their lives tick away. Eventually a story emerges: our protagonist Peter (Ron Livingston), fed up with his worthless existence, bonds with two coworkers (played with dry wit by David Herman and Ajay Naidu) and they start quietly laying waste to the company, ultimately hatching a plan to skim fractions of pennies off of every bank software transaction their company handles, and become rich in the process.

But the plot is almost beside the point: Office Space is really an outlet for Beavis & Butt-head creator Mike Judge, helming his first live action feature, to unspool some casual if honest jokes about suburban life. Some moments are funny – Gary Cole, as the hilariously smarmy boss, is probably the best thing in the movie – but Office Space in general feels like a shrug.

Here's an example: Jennifer Aniston, the film's lone "name" actor, plays a waitress at a tacky TGI Friday's-like restaurant. She has an obnoxious coworker – a typically smug "Hey, how we doin' here?" waiter played on the nose by Todd Duffey. But in a scene that might have ended perfectly on said coworker's shenanigans, Judge lets it carry on for a few more seconds, with Aniston saying, "I hate that guy." Thud. It's a small moment, but symbolic of a film that, on the whole, never lives up to its potential.

With ugly aesthetics – Office Space is a reminder to indie filmmakers why shooting in actual white-walled apartments and fluorescently-lit cubicle farms is a bad idea, even if you're going for authenticity – and a low-key tone, this will probably play much better on TV, where you can turn it on and off at any time, or have it playing in the background while you look for a new job yourself.