Office Space

From Academic Kids

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Office Space DVD

Office Space is a 1999 comedy film directed by Mike Judge, loosely based on his 1991 animated short film of the same name. It pokes fun at work life in a typical software company during the 1990s by portraying individuals who are entirely fed up with their jobs. It is set in Dallas but was filmed in both Austin and Dallas, Texas.

Office Space is based on the Milton series of cartoons Mike Judge created for Saturday Night Live. While not financially successful at the box office—just about breaking even—it has developed a strong cult following on video and the infamous line "I believe you have my stapler?" became a fad on YTMND.


In a cube farm setting evocative of the Dilbert comic strip, two consultants (called "The Bobs", since both have the same first name) are brought in to Initech to help with downsizing and increasing productivity. Workers are then interviewed for the purposes of determining performance.

Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston) is stressed out, ineffective, and likely the first on the Bobs' downsizing list. Fortunately, he has an accident in hypnotherapy—the hypnotist dies before he can snap Peter out of a state of complete relaxation. The newly-relaxed Peter announces that he will not work anymore. To his surprise, Peter receives a promotion by the Bobs, whereas his two friends Samir Nagheenanajar (Ajay Naidu) and Michael Bolton (David Herman) get fired. (The character Michael Bolton, to his great displeasure, shares his name with the real-life singer-songwriter Michael Bolton.)

Together, the three friends decide to write and release a computer virus into the accounting system so that it will round down fractions of a cent and accumulate the leftovers into their own account (see salami slicing). However, due to an error in writing the virus, it works too quickly and the three friends are certain to go to jail. However, all their problems are solved when Milton, a scrawny worker who talks to himself, gets fed up and sets fire to the building.

The movie is notable for introducing several phrases into the office vernacular. Examples of these are the "TPS report" (a satirical example of the type of mindless paperwork done in the modern office) and the term "PC Load Letter" (an actual laser printer message indicating the printer must be loaded with letter-sized paper) as a catch-all for any nonsensical error message. Additionally, the film popularised red Swingline staplers. At the time, Swingline did not offer such a product (the one used in the movie was a regular black stapler painted red), but demand related to the movie's release caused Swingline to offer it for sale on its Web site.


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Gary Cole as Bill Lumbergh and Ron Livingston as Peter Gibbons.

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