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Bartleby (2001)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Mystery | 10 March 2001 (USA)
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A clueless boss has no idea what to do with his mundane office worker whose refusal of duties only gets worse each passing minute.

Director:

Jonathan Parker

Writers:

Herman Melville (story "Bartleby the Scrivener"), Jonathan Parker (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Paymer ... The Boss
Crispin Glover ... Bartleby
Glenne Headly ... Vivian
Maury Chaykin ... Ernest
Joe Piscopo ... Rocky
Seymour Cassel ... Frank Waxman
Carrie Snodgress ... Book Publisher
Dick Martin ... The Mayor
Greta Danielle Newgren Greta Danielle Newgren ... Boss's Date
Ken Murakami ... Landlord
Josh Kornbluth ... Property Manager
Nick Scoggin Nick Scoggin ... Street Philosopher
Stoney Burke Stoney Burke ... Soup Kitchen Server
Terry Allen Jones ... New Tenant
Stu Klitsner Stu Klitsner ... Professor Bum (as Stuart Klitsner)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

I would prefer not to.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Mystery

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Parker Film Company

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 March 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bartleby at the Office See more »

Filming Locations:

Novato, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,599, 27 May 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$148,479
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Parker Film Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dick Martin's final acting performance. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Beneath the Veneer of a Murder (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

Preludes
Written by Claude Debussy
Background music on piano by Nancy Spottiswoode
See more »

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User Reviews

I'd prefer to see this film again...
30 November 2005 | by mcshortfilmSee all my reviews

I loved this film and I cannot believe how so few critics liked it. What were they thinking? Apparently one critic thought since it was based on a short story that the film should be shorter. Of course, once one critic says its too long, every other critic has to agree. I guess David Mamet is an exception to the rule. Bartleby is not too long. It deserves it's running time so that we can absorb the story more closely. When we hear Bartleby repeat the same words: "I'd prefer not to" we are not given any explanation for the comment but yet it becomes extremely poignant. Eventually everyone in the office begins to use the word "prefer" and we see how Bartleby has affected the workplace like a disease. The film is very bizarre particularly because of the way the boss reacts to Bartleby. Instead of just firing the guy for not doing his job, he tries to reason with him. Eventually Barlteby gets in an even more bizarre predicament that has even more to do with just "prefering not to" work. The boss is obsessed with Bartleby and the film turns very Kafkaesque. We see a capitalist scenario where people topple on another for greed, power and respect. The film is based on the short story "Bartleby the Scrivener" by Herman Melville. It was appropriate to mention the source because the story seems very relevant not only to our modern culture but also to what Melville went after writing Moby Dick. The film also has a wonderful score with a Theramin instrument and a brilliant cinematography.


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