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Clockwatchers (1997)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  15 May 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 3,989 users  
Reviews: 111 user | 40 critic

Iris can best be described as a wallflower. She begins her first day as a temp for the nondescript Global Credit Association by waiting in a chair for two hours. This sets the scene for her... See full summary »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Helen FitzGerald ...
Mr. MacNamee
Mr. Kilmer
Milton Lasky
Bud Chapman
Jack Shoberg
Irene Olga López ...
Coffee Lady (as Irene Olga Lopez)
Global Credit Receptionist


Iris can best be described as a wallflower. She begins her first day as a temp for the nondescript Global Credit Association by waiting in a chair for two hours. This sets the scene for her (mis)adventures with the other "corporate orphans", Margaret, Paula and Jane. Led by Margaret, they find subtle ways to lessen the ennui of corporate oppression. The tension escalates when the new permanent hire, Cleo, enters the picture. Written by Vanessa Exum <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief language | See all certifications »





Release Date:

15 May 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Avokonttorin prinsessat  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$34,838 (USA) (15 May 1998)


$444,354 (USA) (21 August 1998)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


See  »

Did You Know?


When Iris addresses the recommendation letter that she got for Margaret, she writes her last name as Burrell, when it is actually Burre. See more »


Margaret: You can't fire me. You don't even know my NAME.
See more »


Referenced in New Guy (2003) See more »


Where is Your Heart
Written by Georges Auric and William Engvick
Performed by Musette of Paris
Used by permission of Gems-EMI Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Laserlight Digital
By arrangement of Source/Q
See more »

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User Reviews

Sprecher's perceptive, sad slice of reality
19 February 2003 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

Inappropriately marketed as a comedy, Clockwatchers is actually a sad, almost disturbing slice-of-life concerning the empty lives of four office temps and the realistic and/or idealized ways they seek to escape their individual predicaments. This low-key, purposefully bland drama, with spare touches of humor from Margaret (Parker Posey), is steeped in realism, making it all the sadder.

Margaret, Paula, and Jane befriend Iris, the central character, at her new temp job. Margaret is loud-mouthed, foul-mouthed, and smart. Paula (Lisa Kudrow) is a young woman with fast-fading beauty, loose morals, and no hope for a future. Jane (Alanna Ubach) is biding her time waiting for her man to marry her and take her away from the temp world. And Iris (Toni Collette) is intelligent but timid. Unlike her new friends, she has the opportunity to score a real job at an interview that her father has lined up for her; however, low self-esteem, shyness, and a new-found friendship with the office girls contribute to her procrastination. Outward, upward mobility seems to scare her.

One day Iris stares blankly at her empty diary. Her temp job affects her so badly that she can find nothing to write about; she's been turned into a mindless zombie. During a moment of introspection, she thinks, `Sometimes it hits you, how quickly the present fades into the past. And you question everything around you. You wonder if anything you'd ever do would matter, or if you could just disappear without a trace.' Jill and Karen Sprecher's script is punctuated with perceptive, thought provoking lines, many of which comment on the individual's insignificance in society. Early in the film, Margaret comments on how `a person can just drift through life like they're not connected to anyone or anything.' Later, Iris admits that `even if a person wanted to break free, they could find out they've got nowhere else to go.'

Ultimately, the Sprechers' four-character quasi-study can be applied to everyone, every day. Some characters move on, thus positively changing their lives forever; others, whether out of preference, procrastination, or lack of education, stay put, forever locked in dead-end jobs. At the film's end, Iris realizes that improving her situation can come only from `never hiding, never sitting silently, and never just waiting -- and waiting -- and watching the world go by.' Clockwatchers may be a `small' film with a soft voice, but at least it has something to say.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Any temp 'horror' stories you'd like to share? jumpingjoe821
The Ending was very sad..... wakkadakka
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