Clockwatchers

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Clockwatchers

The stylish Clockwatchers—directed by first-timer Jill Sprecher and written with her sister Karen—is more than just a contemporary remake of the workplace-centered hit 9 To 5. Clockwatchers is closer in spirit to the bitter Clerks, only this time it's women doing the bitching. Toni Collette plays a shy temp worker in the disturbingly sterile Global Credit office. She is soon integrated into the temp clique of loudmouth Parker Posey, flaky Lisa Kudrow, and mousy Alanna Ubach, but their friendship is jeopardized when things begin to vanish from the office and the temps become suspects. Clockwatchers does a great job portraying the trials and tribulations of monotonous office work: The garish colors and incessant Muzak heighten the queasy claustrophobia of a world in which everything stops at five—note the way the minute hand seems to jump backwards before hitting the hour mark—and the four funny co-stars comprise a plausible motley crew of hapless losers with endless excuses. But the film's message, that it's impossible to trust in an environment that does not reward loyalty, is as dark as the message sent by the far more acidic In The Company Of Men. Though Clockwatchers doesn't feature the flashy language of that brutal film, it still reveals a similarly astute assessment of modern inter-office politics and workplace alienation.