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Clockwatchers (1997)

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

Director:

Jill Sprecher
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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Toni Collette ... Iris
Parker Posey ... Margaret
Lisa Kudrow ... Paula
Alanna Ubach ... Jane
Helen FitzGerald ... Cleo
Stanley DeSantis ... Art
Jamie Kennedy ... Eddie
David James Elliott ... Mr. MacNamee
Debra Jo Rupp ... Barbara
Kevin Cooney ... Mr. Kilmer
Bob Balaban ... Milton Lasky
Paul Dooley ... Bud Chapman
Scott Mosenson ... Jack Shoberg
Irene Olga López Irene Olga López ... Coffee Lady (as Irene Olga Lopez)
Joshua Malina ... Global Credit Receptionist
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

15 May 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Clockwatchers See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$34,838, 17 May 1998

Gross USA:

$537,948

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$537,948
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lisa Kudrow and Debra Jo Rupp worked together as sisters-in-law on Friends. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Iris Chapman: 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.
See more »


Soundtracks

Putterbutt
Written by Joseph L. Altruda
Performed by Joey Altruda and His Cocktail Crew
Published by Josho Publishing/Careers-BMG Music Publishing, Inc. (BMI)
Courtesy of Ocean Park Music Group
See more »

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User Reviews

Existential angst in a service based world
6 January 2003 | by mew-4See all my reviews

This is a really provocative movie that is artfully filmed.

Good art often offers commentary on the times. When you're in the midst of an era, it's hard to see what characterizes it. I think Clockwatchers does a terrific job of capturing a facet of the temp world of the 80's/90's. I was a temp for a year in 1988. It's quite accurate.

But you don't have to be a temp to recognize these characters. Yes Dilbert, yes Office Space, and especially the beginning of Joe vs the Volcano have these same foils. But I think Clockwatchers' take was unique. The characters were well developed while still being archetypes. There was a subtlety and style that all the others listed chose against.

The direction and cinematography of this film is terrific. It takes guts to burn film doing a close-up of someone's glasses for 10 seconds. There is real art to this film. The writing, the directing, the pacing, editing, all right up at the top of the scale. The acting was fine, but I don't think it's the strong suit of this movie. Toni Collette is a standout. While I love Parker Posey, I think she was probably a bit over the top here. The Muzak, while as mood-setting as the buzz of florescent lighting, can grate at a viewer.

This film touched on too may things to list them all. Here's a sample... What are you doing with your life if you're waiting for it to burn off? Isn't it exhausting and poisoning to pretend to look busy all day? If you are a cog in a machine, and accomplishing nothing at that too, did you really even exist? Are the "troublemakers" in life getting us in trouble, or offering us freedom (note there are two people here stirring up the pot)? What is theft (and theft of services)? Where is the dividing line between unethical play and immorality? At what point do you give up on the dream of personal growth? Are some people "better" than others? What does beauty (and grooming) have to do with it? Does the corporate hierarchy define our worth to others or our self-worth? What is loyalty and betrayal, to whom do you owe how much, and how do you give consent to those obligations/ownership? Work/friends/family are all portrayed as villains and allies wielding this loyalty Sword of Damocles.

One IMDB reviewer said this film was a good way to kill time after work. That's terrific irony. :)


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