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Clockwatchers (1997)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 15 May 1998 (USA)
1:52 | Trailer

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The relationship between four female temps all working for the same credit company is threatened with the arrival of a new hire, who lands a permanent position one of the women was vying for.


2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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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 <vexum@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Waiting for your life to change... can be a full time job. See more »


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?


Lisa Kudrow and Bob Balaban worked together on Friends and Web Therapy. See more »


When Iris attempts to retrieve the bag Paula drops on the bus, the small child who was sitting immediately in front of Paula vanishes. Iris immediately sits where the missing child was last seen. See more »


Iris Chapman: I once read that there are two kinds of time: mechanical and human. You could say my story began at 8:59 the day I started that job, and ended months later, when I left it. But I'd tell you it began in the past, with my old self; and ended in the future, the new one.
See more »


Referenced in New Guy (2003) See more »


Brokenhearted I Will Wander
Written by Dennis Brennan
Performed by Dennis Brennan
Published by JuJak Publishing (BMI)
Courtesy of Upstart Sounds
By Arrangement with Ocean Park Music Group
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.

28 of 29 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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