Movie Magazine International


USA - 1996

Movie Review By Blue Velvet

Like nomads of the corporate terrain, the young temp workers in Jill Sprecher's "Clockwatchers" hold an uncertain yet hopeful vision of what lays ahead in their future. Both Jill and her sister, Karen, have crafted a genuinely witty yet sensitive screenplay surrounding the insecurities and dreams of four young women who grin and bear their fleeting 9-5 livelihood. Without cheesy flashiness or mean-spirited mordant humor, director Sprecher wraps laughable temp war stories around a comedy so soaked in everyday work dilemmas, corporate survivors and ex-temps in the audience stand to laugh or blush.

Toni Collette plays Iris, the film's main character and narrator. A shy young woman, Iris has been assigned to fill in at a corporate muzak-blaring hell called Global Credit. By default Iris quickly befriends the firm's other temps played by Alana Urbach, Lisa Kudrow, and the ever fabulous Parker Posey. With their mere status as temps these women self-consciously stand out from the rest of the company so they bond together for comaraderie, support, and eventual friendship. Crisis hits when a silent prissy young woman begins work in a coveted permanent position and theft at the firm suddenly skyrockets.

Director Sprecher's keen eye hones in on the temps' insecurities and anxieties to give workday rituals a comedic if not exasperating spin. With zero job security and their dignity constantly challenged by single-minded corporate players, the temps make easy targets. Yet never over-victimizing its characters, "Clockwatchers" avoids frantic melodrama and keeps an even yet surreal tempo. This lack of animated buffoonery makes "Clockwatchers" appealing mostly to audience members who recognize the struggles and triumphs of the odd-man or odd-woman-out in the world of corporate cronies.

© 1998 - Blue Velvet - Air Date: 08/19/98

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