What does Milton’s home look like? Here’s a guy, short, stout, with thick glasses, that mumbles aimlessly and has a rather odd connection to a red stapler. He probably is the compulsive hoarder, with stacks of old newspapers lining his living room.
Everyone has worked with a Milton, here played by Stephen Root to absolute perfection, that weird guy who seems to have zero social skills and a demeanor that makes you wonder if yes, he really could set that place on fire. Milton is a mistreated employee of Initech, forced to move his desk multiple times. The brilliance of the Office Space script is that he doesn’t just get moved, he gets moved to storage level B. Nope, he’s not even considered good enough for storage level A.
Office Space is a scathing satire still well within the realm of the reality. The satire is so strong, so pitch perfect, the actual plot doesn’t develop for nearly 50 minutes. It doesn’t need to.
Instead, we follow Peter Gibbons (Ron Livingston), a software engineer who is hypnotized into quitting his job. Instead, he becomes promoted. His early crime is failing to attach a cover sheet to a TPS report. What that is never becomes important, but what is important is how the running gag is played out. The constant reminders of the memo, one that discusses a new cover sheet for the TPS reports, are priceless. After being hypnotized, Peter decides to gut a fish in his cubicle, with the innards slapped onto a TPS report form.
It is such a small form of rebellion, yet one that nearly every American worker can relate to, not to mention stand up and cheer for.
When two of Peter’s work friends are destined to be laid off, they decide to install a virus that will sap mere pennies from corporate accounts over the course of a few years. This should by all accounts turn them into criminals, unlikable failures despite the treatment of their corporate overlords.
However, you have to feel for guys who have to look up money laundering in the dictionary. They want to commit the crime, but their knowledge of the underworld is limited to, “Crack dealers do it.” They’re good at their jobs (at least they seem to be) and shouldn’t have been let go, but are utterly clueless about what they are trying to do. You can’t hate someone for that. You have to root for the underdog.
There are so many small moments of Office Space that work, that generate a smile on the face of any American worker, it is impossible not to appreciate how much this movie gets right. Everyone has their own red stapler.
Fox has released the film to Blu-ray in a rather sad state. Edge enhancement is a consistent problem, delivering little more than significant halos around characters in countless scenes. The rather sickly flesh tones, sometimes even veering into as neon territory, is definitely a result of DNR.
Over processing leads to unnaturally smearing faces during fast movement, almost total lack of facial detail with the exception of extreme close-ups, and lack of texturing. Colors are flat, and black levels are limited. Contrast is fine.
A rather simple office comedy doesn’t offer much for this DTS-HD track to play with. However, it does a bit, including impressive bass from the hip-hop soundtrack, the virus drop-off, and Peter’s dream. Speaking of the latter, the various voices nicely swirl into the front and rear channels. It’s typical, but noteworthy.
The Blu-ray carries over the minimal extras from the DVD, and adds a few more although they are hardly worth the upgrade. A 27-minute retrospective is a nice piece, made to let cast and crew reminisce about the film and the cult classic is has become. Eight deleted scenes are mildly amusing if not necessary to the overall film.
The Blu-ray adds in a few games that are worthless, and a trivia track which pops up random tidbits about the film. Note the DVD had a wonderful box set that included various knick-knacks including a mug, mouse pad, pens, and yes, a red stapler.