I’m going to need you to go ahead and come in tomorrow. So if you could be here at around nine, that’d be great. Thanks. If you recognize that line, you’ve definitely had that same feeling of your dreams being stepped on by your passive aggressive office manager. Office Space (1999) directed by Mike Judge, stars Ron Livingston as Peter Gibbons, an office employee working at a software tech company tired of his mundane routine with dreams of breaking out of the soul-crushing career. The film also stars Jennifer Aniston, Gary Cole, Stephen Root, David Herman, and John C. McGinley to name a few. With an underwhelming initial release in the box office, overtime, the film has grown to become an iconic cultural phenomenon for the portrayal of corporate work space satire. YouTubers The Beat Goes On, Brandon from BrandoCritic, Jared from Wisecrack and Jan Man from Jan Man Chronicles share their retrospective opinions on the cult classic.
20 years later Office Space still resonates as a film that accurately critiques and pokes fun at the corporate work environment and gets us thinking about having a fulfilling career and balancing work and the rest of our lives.
During the early stages of the film, studio executives were not impressed and felt the characters were very boring with no energy; they probably failed to realize how accurate this was to real life, says YouTuber The Beat Goes On. He goes on to stress how the film, unbeknownst at the time, is so revolutionary in that it still resonates with audiences today, decades later. All of the characters are accurate representations of people we know and have seen in our daily lives.
Most importantly the film is extremely relative. Nearly all of us work. We all need to pay our bills somehow and most of us tend to hate our jobs … Office Space doesn’t feel like a film made by Hollywood. It doesn’t feel like actors playing the part. It is surprisingly realistic.
Office Space is funny every single time, says YouTuber Brandon. Traditionally, music is somewhat an afterthought added to a story to set a mood, according to Brandon who praises the film for its clever usage of “gangsta rap” music to enhance the comedic tones.
Here you have a bunch of white dudes in a white sterile office doing very very nerdy work. So the filmmakers knew to play with that and put in gangster music to it. Watching Ron Livingston come in, just hearing a ‘damn it feels good to be a gangsta’, it’s just the perfect juxtaposition, hilarious.
YouTuber Jan Man feels the film is a glimpse into the average Joe's everyday life, making it completely relatable as we follow along with his repetitive routine. The fact that just about anyone who has worked in an office setting can see parallels of their life in these characters is what makes the comedic tones even more laughable, says the YouTuber. You have the typical characters: the disgruntled employee who cannot seem to speak up for himself, the guys who’s name no one can pronounce, the loud lunch chewer, the passive aggressive boss who makes everyone do his work for him, and the guy who longs for something more meaningful in his life. These are all people we know in real life, according to the YouTuber.
One of the main reasons they work so well aside from comedic timing and the script by Judge is the ability to vicariously experience the absurd maddening familiarity of the situations through the characters.
Jan Man praises Ron Livingston’s performance as Peter and his ability to make the audience feel exactly how he feels in his ordinary, daily grind. Again, the film does a great job in creating the relatable feeling we as the audience have with Peter.
Ron Livingston who plays Peter, does a great job in the role evoking both sympathy for a man who sludges through his all too familiar lifestyle and a degree of envious enthusiasm for him as he resolves to do what he wants and no longer put up with the idiocracy of the corporate office life.
The film also does a great job in highlighting the concept of “office politics” and how the best way to rebel against it is to do nothing at all, according to YouTuber Jared from Wisecrack. After finally being fed up with his situation, Peter has a change of attitude, with the help of a hypnotist, and is suddenly in a carefree state of mind deciding he doesn’t want to do what he is told anymore. He comes to work when he feels like it, he wears comfortable clothes rather than the required office attire and eventually stands up to his boss by refusing to work on the weekend.
At first glance Office Space seems to be a hilarious ode to white color laziness and Michael Bolton. But we think there’s something else going on that may explain why the film has remained relevant for over 20 years. It’s because Office Space embodies what some believe to be the most radical form of revolution.
Over the years Office Space has become a cult classic. Jan Man describes it as “a scathing indictment on corporate and systematic work protocol and culture.” Brandon claims its witty and sarcastic dialogue are some of the most relatable real-life situations. The Beat Goes On says Office Space is “a great satirical critique of middle management, arbitrary regulations and the corporate world as a whole.” Jared from Wisecrack calls the film a “cultural artifact” speaking to “employee disaffection” in which we can all relate to.
YouTubers The Beat Goes On, Brandon from BrandoCritic, Jan Man from Jan Man Chronicles and Jared from Wisecrack review and discuss movies and TV shows on their channels regularly.