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Movie Mom

The fans who have been waiting for a new workplace comedy as wickedly on target as Mike Judge’s cult classic “Office Space” will have to keep waiting. Judge’s new film has no red stapler, no TPS reports coversheet problems, and most of all, it has no flair.

This time, Judge has us on the side of the boss. He is Joel (Jason Bateman), who owns a small manufacturing company that makes flavor extracts. His life is flavorless, get it?

Joel has an office with a window that looks down on the assembly line that conveys the little bottles to the boxes and the forklift. And he has to deal with petty and incompetent employees. But no matter where we are on our own corporate totem poles, it is always going to be more difficult for the audience to identify with the guy who gets to tell everyone what to do before he goes home to his big house and his big bank account.

And it turns out that this movie is less about the workplace than it is another weak frustrated married life comedy. On one hand, this is a good thing because the workplace plot line, involving an industrial accident than unmans one of the workers (Clifton Collins, Jr., you can do better than this) and a scheming temp (ditto Mila Kunis) is neither interesting nor original. On the other hand, it is not a good thing because neither is the marital plot line. Joel is frustrated. His friend (Ben Affleck, bearded) advises Joel to entrap his wife into an affair, thus giving himself carte blanche to do the same. This was briefly popular back the days of, what was that again, oh yes, “Love, American Style.” There is a reason that show is no longer on the air. And it’s the same reason this movie should immediately move to the 99 cent bin and stay there.

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