Office Space

Movie review by
Alyssa Ellsworth, Common Sense Media
Office Space Movie Poster Image
Funny but dark '90s comedy has lots of cursing, some sex.
  • R
  • 1999
  • 89 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 12 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Satire of the indignities and banality of contemporary office and chain restaurant work. Characters who benefit from this reality are satirized as being vapid, dumb, bland, and conformist. Characters who don't benefit try to get even in a variety of ways: hacking into the bank account of a large corporation, burning down an office park, giving a boss the middle finger, taking a baseball bat to a problematic fax machine. Theme of overqualified and underpaid office workers confronting the quiet desperation and unhappiness they feel with their jobs. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters working in jobs that they hate get even in a variety of ways, some illegal. 

Violence

Implied arson. Violent lyrics to the song "Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta" by Geto Boys playing during a scene in which three main characters (white males) take turns giving a printer a "beat down" with a baseball bat. A recently laid-off employee is shown trying to commit suicide by carbon monoxide from running the engine of his car in his closed garage, then immediately is shown getting struck by a fast-moving truck while backing out of his driveway. The man is later shown in a body cast and wheelchair. 

Sex

Brief shot of a nude woman on TV, breasts. When the lead character asks his neighbor what he would want if he had a million dollars, the neighbor says that he'd want to have sex with two women at the same time. In a dream sequence, lead character imagines his passive-aggressive boss having sex with his girlfriend. Characters talk of having and not having sex. Male characters gossip about the sexual promiscuity of two of the female characters. Minor character talks of how he wants to make his "O face" with a new attractive female employee. 

Language

"F--k" and variations and "N" word used in hip-hop songs playing in the background or in montage scenes. "F--k" used by characters. "Ass," "Ass clown," "p---y," "s--t," "bitch," "bastard," "pissed," "goddamn," "c--k gobblers," "fudge packers." Worries of going to prison lead to characters worrying of going to the "pound me in the ass prison," and a neighbor of the lead character advises, "watch out for your cornhole." Middle finger gesture. Talk of the lead character's girlfriend's rumored sexual promiscuity. Minor character talks of how he wants to have sex, and put on his "O face." 

Consumerism

On a car ride, one of the characters holds a large soda cup with the Pepsi logo prominently displayed on its side. Some scenes are set in, and one of the characters works at, a restaurant clearly intended to parody "good-time restaurant" chains so prominent in suburbia. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

After learning they're to be laid off from their jobs, two of the main characters, with the help and participation of the lead character, get drunk in an apartment, drinking beer and booze. Beer and alcohol drinking in apartments and restaurants. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Office Space is a 1999 satire of the corporate office working life. However, the subject matter of the movie -- dead-end jobs in banal suburban "campuses" with aggravating bosses -- makes it more appropriate for young adults who themselves are in their first office jobs. The movie depicts stealing and implied arson. There's strong language, sexual references, and jealous fantasies. A character celebrates a horrific injury, there's an on-screen medical emergency, characters act illegally, and a mistreated character takes drastic revenge. There's frequent profanity, including characters saying "f--k," and montages accompanied by hip-hop songs with the "N" word and "f--k." Male characters talk of the sexual promiscuity of female characters. There's a brief shot of a nude woman on TV, and drinking and drunkenness. When the lead character asks his neighbor what he would want if he had a million dollars, the neighbor says that he'd want to have sex with two women at the same time. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byaileronguy September 1, 2009

Good for those in the workforce /out of school

Funny for adults who are in the rat race, but not for kids who haven't been there yet and don't understand what the movie attacks.
Adult Written byjanwatches April 9, 2008
This movie is smart comedy--it realizes that the line between funny and tragic is fine.
Teen, 15 years old Written byJWilliams303 July 16, 2009

Very funny movie

One of the best movies ever made. not much to worry about except people cussing and seeing a brief sex scene.
Kid, 10 years old December 3, 2010

Ummmm

Well I'm 10 and I saw it but only because my grandmother was watching it on tv. I saw like 3/4 of it and I thought it was really funny and since it was sho... Continue reading

What's the story?

Peter (Ron Livingston) passively despises his job, his insufferable boss Lumbergh (Gary Cole), and the small gray cubicle where he spends most of his waking life. When he undergoes hypnosis, he loses his fear of what other people think about him, and his nonchalance frees him to change his life. He asks out the attractive waitress Joanna (Jennifer Aniston) and he stops taking work so seriously. When consultants are brought in to fire many of the company's employees, Peter teams up with colleagues Samir (Ajay Naidu) and Michael (David Herman) to hatch a plan for defrauding the company of its petty change. Meanwhile, mumbling Milton (scene-stealing Stephen Root) is reaching the end of his tether, and if he's pushed, his actions might change everything.

Is it any good?

Ask 20- or 30-somethings about this hilarious comedy and you'll be deluged by movie quotes, references, and the term "a cubicle classic." Most people who have worked in an office will agree that individual scenes in this movie are among the most humorous exposés of cubicle life ever put on screen. While teens will certainly get the jokes, they probably won't identify with the situations as much as a young adult who has experienced office life.

There's no doubt that creator/director Mike Judge has an uncanny eye for revealing the humorous realities and hypocrisies of office life. The banal and often inexplicable tasks that people do, as well as the defeating weight of bureaucracy, are mocked with deadpan humor in a series of interviews between employees and the consultants. While some parents might find the end scenes problematic, the sketches that comprise the bulk of the movie are painfully funny observations on office life that will leave many saying "too true, too true." Still, given the language and sex here, this movie is best for older teens and up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the sources of humor that this movie draws from, including the stereotypes of different office types (the Pollyanna, the self-important boss, etc.), the hallmarks of suburban culture such as the restaurant where "flair" is required, and the venting of frustrations on a piece of office equipment. If you were hypnotized not to care about what other people thought, would you act differently?

  • How does this movie explore the idea of living the life you would like to live versus the practical realities of having to earn a living? 

  • Years after its release, how has this movie held up? Is it still relevant? What aspects of it ground it in the time in which it was released?

Movie details

For kids who love to laugh

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