Bartleby (2001)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Mystery  |  10 March 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,507 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.



(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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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 »


Bartleby: I don't drive.
The Boss: You don't drive? Well, then how did you get here? Did you walk? There are no sidewalks!
[speaks into the intercom]
The Boss: Vivian, can you take a bus here?
Vivian: [speaking through the intercom] Ah... yes. From my house I would take the 36 to the terminal in town. Then transfer there to the 80 and get off at the shopping center then catch the 48. There's only one - at 7:10 AM. The ride is roughly an hour and a half from the mall, so to get here by nine, I have to leave the house by 4:45. My car ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to Christina, Walter and Tricia See more »


Version of Bartleby (1976) See more »


Written by Claude Debussy (as Debussy)
Background music on piano by Nancy Spottiswoode
See more »

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User Reviews

bad expansion of good short story
11 September 2003 | by (Winnipeg, Canada) – See all my reviews

Herman Melville's short story "Bartleby the Scrivener" gets a slightly surreal update in this offbeat comedy drama. The manager (David Paymer) of the city records department in a mid-sized California community decides that his staff of three - flirty chatterbox Vivian (Glenne Headly), sloppy Vietnam vet Ernie (Maury Chaykin), and slick-suited, Don Juan wannabe Rocky (Joe Piscopo) - could use some help, so he places an ad looking for a new employee. The boss ends up hiring the one and only applicant who wants the position, a quiet, pale young man named Bartleby (Crispin Glover).

At first, Bartleby is a model of efficiency, but before long he loses enthusiasm for his job, much to the annoyance of his co-workers, and soon he's spending his days staring at an air conditioning vent. The Boss asks Bartleby to get back to work, but Bartleby's repeated reply to such requests is, "I prefer not to," and the Boss sees little recourse but to fire him.

However, Bartleby refuses to leave his desk, and it soon becomes obvious that Bartleby has not only stopped doing his work - he's stopped going home and has moved into the office. Bartleby was the first feature film for producer/director Parker. He also wrote the screenplay, in collaboration with Catherine Di Napoli.

There is really not enough material in Melville's story to warrant a feature length film. When "Bartleby" sticks to the text of the story it is interesting and fairly funny, but Parker is forced to add a lot of filler which is simply not very good. Worth a look, but in the end, a bit weak.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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