Friday, September 28, 2007

The Office:Lessons in (Bad) Management

As a wise friend once told me about a boss of days yore, "You can learn lots about what NOT to do, by watching (insert name)'s mistakes."

Same holds true for Michael Scott, the incompetent, arrogant, utterly clueless -- hey, winning combination -- boss played by Steve Carell on NBC's "The Office," still my favorite TV comedy.

Several CEOs interviewed for a USA Today story this week conceded that they recognized some of their own past mistakes when watching "The Office."

A few of the managers interviewed for the story, though, said they don't think "The Office" is funny at all. Maybe, like that old manager I mentioned, they just don't get it - they're too dense. Or, perhaps, they finally recognize the dysfunctional, ignorant nature of their own management style, and they're too arrogant to a)admit their mistakes or b)change direction.

Nice to see that "The Office" is finally getting respect, after a rough start for the series. See the cover (!) story in the new Entertainment Weekly. About time. In an online extra, EW offers short interviews with cast members.

Not everything Steve Carell (Little Miss Sunshine, The 40-Year-Old Virgin) touches turns to gold.

I caught up with "Noah's Ark" tale Evan Almighty on DVD, and I was underwhelmed. Cute and funny enough, I guess, and it's a rare instance of a Hollywood movie that doesn't make of fun of belief in God (the brand of belief seems to be vaguely Judeo-Christian, but it's never quite specified).

But it's one of those movies that I never need to see again -- a repeat viewing isn't going to reveal greater depths, because there aren't any to be found.

Here's hoping that Carell's forthcoming romantic comedy Dan in Real Life will be an improvement on Evan Almighty. Carell's co-stars are the great French actress Juliette Binoche and Dane Cook, and the cast also includes Dianne Wiest and John Mahoney. Filmmaker Peter Hedges also wrote and directed the underrated Pieces of April, and penned the screenplay for About a Boy.

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