Owen Gleiberman
December 05, 1997 AT 05:00 AM EST

Office Killer

Current Status
In Season
Molly Ringwald, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Michael Imperioli, Carol Kane
Cindy Sherman
Todd Haynes, Tom Kalin
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a D

Cindy Sherman, the impish photographic artist best known for her spookily evocative ”Untitled Film Stills,” has finally made a film of her own — and it turns out to be stillborn. Baby-voiced Carol Kane plays Dorine Douglas, a copy editor at Constant Consumer magazine (that title is the movie’s one good joke). The ultimate corporate mouse, Dorine, who lives at home with her domineering crippled mom, is a spit-swallowing loser who wears drawn-on eyebrows, ghostly asexual pancake makeup, and little-girl braids that look like they got knotted up in the rinse cycle. After accidentally electrocuting the office lech, she proceeds to work off a lifetime of frustration by going on a rampage, murdering her various sadistic overseers (all of whom, of course, deserve their grisly fates). The jokey, revenge-of-the-nerd premise suggests the worst of Susan Seidelman merged with a limply didactic Andy Warhol satire of corporate politics. Sherman’s idea of style is to get everyone on screen to snipe at one another and then to shoot the misanthropic antics from gruesomely crude camera angles. Office Killer is dreadful, all right, but what’s truly depressing about it is that Sherman doesn’t even appear to be trying for the lyrical ambiguity of her best work. The film flickers to life only when Molly Ringwald shows up, vamping gamely as an office sexpot. D

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