By Benjamin Gummery.
This week we delve into the great font of comedy that is the workplace-orientated film. Some of these you might have heard of but hopefully others you will discover for the first time. The selection is fairly complimentary so if you have seen one of these films and enjoyed it you should at-least appreciate the others.
Office Space (1999)
Office Space is written and directed by Mike Judge (creator of the TV cartoon Beavis & Butthead, King of the Hill) and stars Jennifer Aniston & Ron Livingston. The plot centres around a group of programmers and their increasing frustration with the company they work with leading to some classic comedy moments. Central character Peter Gibbons'(Livingston) goes on a journey of self-discovery and develops a relationship with waitress Joanna(Aniston) but the supporting cast are also hilarious. This is a classic American comedy with heart & soul; informed by Mike Judge’s confident ‘White Collar’ comic style.
Don’t be put off by the Black & White; this is the independent cult comedy film debut of writer/director Kevin Smith. The film centres around a ‘day in the life’ of store clerks Dante(Brian O’Halloran) and Randall(Jeff Anderson) who work at a small convenience and video rental store in New Jersey. The film is littered with hilarious walk-in characters, gags and pop culture references. Informed by Smith’s own time working in a convenience store; the characters and humour are easy to relate to.
Often referred to as ‘Clerks in a restaurant’, Waiting.. (Written & Directed by Rob McKittrick) is a gross-out comedy ‘day in the life’ of the staff at a chain restaurant and their struggles with customers, management, their lives and each other. The film features early performances from Ryan Reynolds, Justin Long, Anna Faris & David Koechner.
The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (2009)
From director Neal Brennan & Producers Adam McKay/Will Ferrell (Talladegah Nights/Step Brothers/Anchorman); ‘The Goods’ tells the story of a struggling car dealership which hires in a ‘mercenary’ sales team to turn around the lot’s fortunes. Starring Jeremy Piven, Ving Rhames, David Koechner and Craig Robinson the films shows the struggles of the staff to adapt to new selling tactics with hilarious consequences.
This is the film equivalent of a TV ‘sit-com’; where the comedy flows naturally from characters in a certain situation; although it may lead off on different tangents and become a sub-genre film (i.e. Rom Com, Dark Comedy).
Please leave your comments and suggestions. What is your favourite Workplace comedy? What do you think about this sub-genre? Any suggestions for future features welcome.
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