Now playing locally in the Detroit area (click for showtimes)
Run Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
Starring: Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Craig T. Nelson, Kevin Costner
Directed by John Wells (directorial debut)
OK, I must have missed something. That's the only thing I could think of when I finished watching "The Company Men", a movie that asks us to sympathize with rich people losing their corporate jobs. On the back end of the worst economic crisis is our country's history, I can't fathom how this movie was made...it's a laughable, downright insulting journey into the mind of the upper-class. For someone raised in what could be considered lower-middle class, I didn't connect with the men of "The Company Men." No, it isn't a comedy, or a satire, but a straight-up drama about corporate downsizing...I have to ask again, am I just missing something???
The Plot. Bobby (Affleck) is living the American dream, with the great job, big house, hot car and whatnot. When he loses his job along with other corporate execs played by Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper, the three men take different approaches as to how to cope with life, when for seemingly the very first time, it doesn't go the exact way they want it.
Class-less Filmmaking. The film asks us to sympathize with executives who may have to go from making $500,000 a year down to (gasp!) $200,000 a year. Now to be fair, I'm sure that losing over half of your salary is sure to impact your family, and your everyday life. But on screen, these characters are treated as if they've just been thrown in the literal gutter...and to anyone watching this film who makes under six-figures, I find it a very ginormous stretch that we are supposed to care given our own problems. When you aren't sure if you can put food on your own table, you may not care to hear rich people complain that they "have to eat out less."
For another example, if a poor kid sells his clothes for a few bucks to help dad put dinner on the table, that is a sad and tragic tale worthy of our sympathy. But, in "The Company Men", Affleck's child (double gasp!) is forced to sell his XBox! This is a real part of the movie, and it is portrayed on screen as tragically as the kid selling his clothes...are they similar? I think it's insulting to draw a parallel, as they do here.
Poor Man's Acting. Ben Affleck, after re-defining himself with a great role in his own film The Town, is back to the days of Affleck-yore as a totally miscast and seemingly horrible actor amongst a cast of other great actors. To his benefit here though, these other "great actors" such as Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones, give some of the worst performances of their careers as well, as horrible 2-dimensional cliches. Kevin Costner shows up to supposedly teach Affleck's character some values of the working man, but again it just completely misses the mark. Chris Cooper's character is so horribly offended that he literally throws stones at his corporate office in one scene. Life is tough, and problems are relative, but come on...throwing rocks?
Bad Company. As I see this movie has gained a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I again question if those who gave favorable reviews remember making less than six-figure salaries...I don't see how you can watch this film and not laugh in disgust at the serious tone. It's like being forced to listen to the neighbors bitch and complain, watching as their maid pours them a cocktail over on the greener side of the fence. But I guess if you're a rich big-wig exec looking for a film to watch in your corporate jet on the way to your 2nd home in Cabo, this film may just be up your alley. To the rest of us, it's an insulting and narrow-sighted view of a world we all wish we had the chance to experience, and would be damn sure we'd appreciate.
Looking for a specific movie or review?