6.4/10
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Clockwatchers (1997)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama | 15 May 1998 (USA)
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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.

Director:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Toni Collette ... Iris Chapman
Parker Posey ... Margaret Burre
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:

FOUR GIRLS. FOUR DREAMS. ONE OFFICE. 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:

Avokonttorin prinsessat See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$34,838, 17 May 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$444,354, 23 August 1998
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 Bob Balaban worked together on Friends and Web Therapy. See more »

Goofs

When Iris and Margaret are at Margaret's apartment, Iris is holding a small ashtray and Margaret says she got it from a hotel. In the next shot Iris holding what appears to be a small dish of food, or even a microwave dinner platter. See more »

Quotes

Margaret: What happened?
Iris Chapman: I guess, I'm just not like you.
Margaret: Yah know it's sad, isn't it, how people always end up betraying each other? And for what?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in New Guy (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

The Heart of a Woman
Written by Brenda Burns
Performed by Brenda Burns
Published by Brenda Burns Music, Inc. (ASCAP)
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User Reviews

Sprecher's perceptive, sad slice of reality
19 February 2003 | by doktor dSee 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.


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