Office Ninja: Made With Love By Geeks, For Geeks
If you want to catch my attention, put the word "ninja" in the title of your movie! It's stereotypical for a geek girl, I know, but I can probably hear it from a room away over several ongoing conversations.
So when I heard about Office Ninja from writer and director Bin Lee, I needed to at least find out what it was! He was kind enough to send a review copy in advance of its release on ITunes today. When C-Man heard about the plot he said we should review it. I think something about programmer rivalries and ninjas combined was too much for him to resist.
We laughed so much! This is such a geek movie, y'all.
Here's the setup. Tomas (Jade Carter) is a programmer whose bow-tied boss is still using an overhead projector with those plastic sheets to run meetings. His co-worker Jett (Robb Padgett) is a jerk who steals Tomas's work and gets promoted to a position Tomas really wanted and kind of needs, considering his dad has just been seriously ill and there are bills to pay.
So clearly, the only way to resolve this is dress up like a ninja and run around his office spying on Jett, right? Tomas's goofball co-worker Raheem (Jose Rosete) and new hire Jessica (Jessica Mills) aren't sure what to think of the appearance of an office ninja... and neither is Tomas once he encounters another ninja. What?!
I have a special place in my heart for any creative project that people clearly work on from a place of love. This is one of those projects. The cast is obviously having such a good time with this preposterous story, especially the folks playing the more exaggerated characters. The look of glee on Todd Johnson's face as his boss character clicks back and forth on his new digital projector is priceless. Also, an impressive amount of action and physical comedy is crammed into the very small physical setting of a set of cubes and offices and the hallways between them! (One tackle in particular caught me completely off-guard and it was so funny because I was so surprised.)
One small fly in the ointment for me was Tomas and Raheem's continued sexual harassment of Jessica. Raheem's behavior towards Jessica is almost as bad as Jett's, and yet the film mostly gives him a pass because he's one of the Good Guys. Tomas isn't innocent either but we're supposed to see it as "he likes her." It struck C-Man as "off" too and we wished they'd figured out another angle for the comedy they were going for. (A minor note: I also personally have a low tolerance for bathroom humor and there were a couple of jokes about that. I'm really not a mainstream audience member on that topic, though, so I just pretended I didn't hear them.)
This isn't a polished big-budget Hollywood comedy where every line is perfectly written... wait, big Hollywood movies aren't perfect either. But it's a bunch of fun, talented people getting together to make something entertaining. Especially if you're steeped in geek humor already. And thank goodness that all movies don't require a Hollywood-size budget, right? Or we'd miss out on a lot of stories.
We spent quite a fun evening watching Office Ninja, and I'm pleased to help spread the word. You can like Office Ninja on Facebook, follow along on Twitter, or most importantly, buy it from the ITunes store. It's just $5.99 to get it in SD which isn't all that much more than a movie rental and less than any movie ticket price I can find these days.
Here's the trailer so you can get a preview:
p.s. Can whoever dressed Jessica for this role dress me too? Thanks!