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Clockwatchers movie poster
Directed byJill Sprecher
Produced byGina Resnick
John Flock
Written byJill Sprecher
Karen Sprecher
Music byJoseph L. Altruda
CinematographyJim Denault
Edited byStephen Mirrione
Distributed byBMG Independents
Release date
  • June 12, 1997 (1997-06-12)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$537,948

Clockwatchers is an American comedy-drama film released in 1997. Directed by Jill Sprecher, it stars Parker Posey, Lisa Kudrow, Toni Collette and Alanna Ubach as temporary office staffers in an office complex. The four become misfit friends in an office environment where they are ignored and mistrusted by their co-workers.[1]


Iris (Collette) is a shy young professional who doesn't want to rock the boat at the office where she temps. Margaret (Posey) is the polar opposite, and serves as a catalyst to help Iris become more assertive. Aspiring actress and fellow temp Paula (Kudrow) eagerly awaits post-work happy hours and the chance to flirt with attractive men. The somewhat naive temp Jane (Ubach) is engaged to marry a jerk who is already cheating on her. Margaret hopes to become a permanent employee as an assistant to stressed out manager Mr. Lasky (Bob Balaban), but her dreams are thwarted when he suddenly dies. The four temps form a camaraderie which assists them in getting through their boring and tedious days at work.

A series of thefts occur in the office and suspicion falls on the temps, particularly Margaret. When Iris finds a small plastic toy monkey inside Margaret's desk that she had thought was stolen from her pencil holder, Iris loses faith in Margaret and believes that she is the office thief. Margaret suggests a one-day strike from work due to mistreatment and being under appreciated as temps, and her friends halfheartedly agree to join her, but on the appointed day, Margaret is the only one who does not come to work. As a result, Barbara, the company's officious head of human resources (Debra Jo Rupp) fires Margaret, and management micromanages the remaining three temps. Iris, Paula and Jane's friendship comes to an end as result of the stress, ending the camaraderie among the temporary workers, and eventually they all go their separate ways. Paula is upset when she learns of Jane's wedding from a newspaper announcement, to which she was not invited, and leaves to work in another department.

It is later discovered that Cleo, a demure secretary who was hired as a permanent employee after her first day, was the thief and that Margaret simply had a similar plastic monkey toy in her desk. Iris confronts Cleo when her diary disappears; Iris later receives a new diary and note of apology.

When Iris is not hired for a permanent job - a position she really wanted - she quits. A senior executive agrees to sign a pre-written letter of recommendation for her (but under Margaret's name). Iris takes advantage of the fact that executives rarely learn the temps' names, and she tells the executive that her name is Margaret, so that Margaret can finally receive the recommendation she had been striving for as a temp. Iris then mails the letter of recommendation to Margaret with a note.


The film was first released on June 12, 1997 in Australia, the native country of Toni Collette.[2] In America, it was released nearly a year later in May 1998.[3]


Clockwatchers received positive reviews. It currently holds an 83% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 24 reviews (20 positive, 4 negative).[4]


  1. ^ Holden, Stephen (May 15, 1998). "Clockwatchers (1997)". The New York Times. Retrieved May 24, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Toni Collette Online - Career - Clockwatchers". Retrieved 2019-05-15. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "AFI|Catalog". Retrieved 2019-05-15. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Clockwatchers (1997)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 24, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

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