Clockwatchers ★★

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 1998

CLOCKWATCHERS is a clock-watcher. Oh, the first 40 or so minutes of this black comedy ain't bad, with Parker Posey (THE HOUSE OF YES), Lisa Kudrow (THE OPPOSITE OF SEX), Toni Collette (MURIEL'S WEDDING), and Alanna Ubach (THE BRADY BUNCH) as clerical temps trying to look busy in the Cubical Farm From Hell. (The place is called Global Credit, where the mail guy's a stalker, the office supplies must be begged for, and the pastel-colored walls are as loud as the Muzak. Calling Dogbert!) Early plot points have Collette's character being shown the ropes and the four of 'em becoming fast friends. For a while it works, with the droll humor and surreal setting offsetting the film's more obvious liabilities. (Ranging from the ultra low-budget production values to Collette's overly-mousey performance.) When the plot takes a slightly more serious turn, involving the introduction of a rival (full-time!) character, things turns tedious. That home stretch is as tough to endure as any sans-effects sequence in GODZILLA, THE X-FILES, or ARMAGEDDON. Co-written and directed by Jill Sprecher, making her feature-film debut.

Grade: C-