Bartleby (2001)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Mystery  |  10 March 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,516 users   Metascore: 48/100
Reviews: 34 user | 31 critic | 19 from

A clueless boss has no idea what to do with his mundane office worker whose refusal of duties only gets worse each passing minute.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Waxman
Book Publisher
The Mayor
Greta Danielle Newgren ...
Boss's Date
Josh Kornbluth ...
Nick Scoggin ...
Street Philosopher
Stoney Burke ...
Soup Kitchen Server
Terry Allen Jones ...
New Tenant
Stu Klitsner ...
Professor Bum (as Stuart Klitsner)


At a public records office, a seemingly normal boss has hired a new employee named Bartleby. Bartleby however, is eccentric and with each passing day, he begins to refuse his boss' orders which only gets worse. Eventually, the boss finds himself clueless as to what to do about Bartleby as he discovers even stranger things about him. Written by Mystic80

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


I would prefer not to.


Comedy | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content | See all certifications »


Official Sites:



Release Date:

10 March 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bartleby at the Office  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$14,599 (USA) (24 May 2002)


$141,367 (USA) (23 August 2002)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Dick Martin's final acting performance. See more »


When the boss's date is straddling him in his office, sometimes her hair is wrapped in a scarf and sometimes it's not. See more »


Rocky: Let me tell you something: It's the sensitive guy that gets the needy woman.
Ernie: Yeah, well it's the worm that gets the hooker.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to Christina, Walter and Tricia See more »


References Ripley's Believe It or Not! (1982) See more »


Phantasie #3 In D Minor
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (as Mozart)
Background music on piano by Nancy Spottiswoode
See more »

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User Reviews

The Man Who Preferred Not To...
25 October 2004 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

I never heard of this movie until couple of weeks ago when I saw it on TV. This brings my question - where do all the good, "small", independent movies go after they've been created and screened on the Sundance Film Festival? How do we learn about their existence? Where do we read about them? And most importantly, where can we see them?

Bartleby, the first film directed and written by Jonathan Parker is a real gem - modern version of the Melville's short story "Bartleby the Scrivener" with absolutely amazing cast.

Crispin Glover plays Bartleby, the man who was hired, but preferred not to work and who was fired, but preferred not to leave. David Paymer is his clueless boss who tries to understand what he is dealing with. Glenne Headly is Vivian, an office secretary, the woman of many adorable talents; Maury Chaykin, and Joe Piscopo are his coworkers in the one of the most boring office ever existed. The office is located in the building that sits on the top of the hill and comes directly from the El Greco's painting "View of Toledo" with its atmosphere of mystery, danger, and loneliness: Would you like to work in the building like that? I'd prefer not to...

I believe Parker made a very impressive debut - the film is creatively shot, the use of music is amazing - Beethoven's sonata turns into a creepy, quirky and moody Bartleby's theme for which Parker used theremin - very interesting and unique musical instrument. Parker and his co -writer transported 'Bartleby the Scrivener' into a surreal and absurd black comedy - satire on bureaucracy and alienation in the insane and cruel modern world.

Franz Kafka's name came to my mind more than once while watching the film - he would've loved that absurd, funny but dark and sad story. Also, if ever a good movie is made about one of the greatest and tragic writers of 20th Century, Crispin Glover should play him. Just compare their pictures...

20 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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