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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 would prefer not to.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Before the opening credits begin, viewers are given a portrait and short biography of Herman Melville, upon whose story the film is loosely based. See more »

Connections

Version of Bartleby ou Les hommes au rebut (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
Melville and Co-dependency
9 August 2003 | by B24See all my reviews

The film touches on some parts of the original story very aptly. I thought the Chaykin-Piscopo match was very close indeed to what Melville intended. As to Crispin Glover, no other movie actor of his stature is creepy enough and palpably slow-witted enough to fit the role -- not even the younger editions of a Brando or Hopper or Walken, who would overact monstrously in one form or another.

Most viewers seem to surrender to the misconception that the story is all about Bartleby. In fact, the narrator undergoes the most profound change within its context. And in that sense this film version fails because the Paymer character is made out to be a complete sap, rather than the seriously introspective and well-educated man of the original.

No one in 1853 knew anything of co-dependency in relation to addictions and other mental disorders, but Melville was prescient in that regard. The apparent despondency of Bartleby (characterized in the original as late of the Dead Letter Office) has no bounds, but it is in his employer's character we are led to see that this relatively new concept involving an excess of identification with the subject person can result in similar debilitation on the part of the caregiver.

It falls as well into the category of feature-length films based on short stories destroyed by too much padding and extraneous activity we used to call "stage business." It should be as spare as the slowly emptying mind of Bartleby himself.


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