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Office Space: Special Edition

Office Space isn't just a very funny movie — it's one of those rare cult titles that have transcended the realm of comedies you'll watch if it's on TV, or even might want to add to your DVD collection. Like This Is Spinal Tap! and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Mike Judge's 1999 skewering of cubicle-strewn white-collar corporations actually means something to a lot of people. Like its aforementioned company of spandex-rockers and silly knights, people organize Office Space parties for group viewings, and probably will do so for quite a while yet. What's more, there's barely a better film out there to toss in the DVD player on a Friday night after one of those head-beating-on-desk weeks at work. Ron Livingston stars as Peter, a computer programmer who, like virtually everybody else at Initech, lives in fear of both going to his job and losing it. However, Peter's buddies Michael (David Herman) and Samir (Ajay Naidu) seem to be coping with their menial, thankless positions better than he is. Thus, on advice of his girlfriend, Peter seeks out a hypnotherapist (Michael McShane) for some quick-fix relaxation. The problem is that the doctor dies while Peter is "under," leaving him in a permanently relaxed state that allows him to speak his mind at work — that is, when he can be bothered to show up. Confessing to a pair of efficiency experts hired by the company that he only works "about 15 minutes per week," Peter figures his pink slip is already in the out box. The consultants, on the other hand, figure he's not challenged enough — so they promote him to an executive position. Mike Judge (best-known for TV shows "Beavis and Butt-Head" and "King of the Hill") gets a variety of targets in his sights in Office Space and continually comes up with bulls-eyes. You name it, he slays it: the morning commute; the condescending, passive-aggressive boss; the printer that's always jammed; the arrested-development co-workers; and the annoying way that everybody prefaces unpleasant remarks with the false-affirmative phrase "go ahead and…" (e.g., "I'm going to go ahead and… say no."). But what makes Office Space special isn't just a string of gags — it's because Judge grounds his script in a common reality that many Americans understand, share, and frequently dread. Office Space is one of those comedies that will be worth watching at least once a year for your own sanity; it's also best seen with a group of downtrodden souls like yourself. Also starring Jennifer Aniston, Gary Cole, Stephen Root, Richard Riehle, and Diedrich Bader, while Judge himself gets in a funny cameo as Aniston's restaurant-manager boss, credited as "William King." Fox's long-overdue Office Space: Special Edition with Flair upgrades their previous bare-bones DVD release with a new-and-improved anamorphic transfer (1.85:1) — the anamorphic option is welcome, and while picture quality is not a substantial improvement, the image is noticeably brighter. As with the previous disc, audio arrives on a Dolby Digital 5.1 track. The theatrical trailer returns, but fans will welcome two new extras — "Out of the Office: An Office Space Retrospective with Mike Judge," which collects together most of the cast and crew for a funny look back (26 min.), and eight deleted scenes with a "play all" option. DVD-ROM content, keep-case.
—JJB



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