Movie Review: The Company Men (2010)

Posted: November 26, 2011 in Drama

the company men

Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) is a hotshot sales representative at GTX a multimillion dollar ship-building company, he’s got a big house and a Porsche, and plays golf regularly.  Bobby finds out one fine morning that he is unemployed, he thinks he will be employed in a couple of weeks.  After six months of failed interviews, and denials, he sells his house, sells his car, moves in with his parents, and straps on a tool belt to help his brother-in-law, Jack Dolan (Kevin Costner) While Bobby goes from white collar to blue collar, GTX CEO James Sallinger (Craig T. Nelson) is looking to cut more positions to stave off a corporate takeover, so he fires his business partner, Gene McClary  (Tommy Lee Jones) and one of the founding members of the company Phil Walker (Chris Cooper).  Things do not go well for Phil, he’s 60 and can’t afford to retire.  After one disastrous attempt at networking, Phil commits suicide.  After the news of Phil’s suicide, what happens to the lives of Bobby and Gene?

This is a fairly predictable story of corporate downsizing, and its aftermath.  But this one looked at upper middle income employees, and that’s part of the reason I didn’t like it.   I didn’t  care that Bobby lost his golf club membership or sold his house or Porsche.  Bobby is an overpaid prima-dona, with a bratty son. Even when he goes through the blue collar transformation, I didn’t care, because it didn’t seem to change him.  The ending is also too neat and predictable.  Affleck is Affleck, pretty boy, nice white teeth, same acting skills in every movie, some self-righteous anger, not understanding why life is treating him badly.  Tommy Lee Jones is a good actor, but he sounded ridiculous with a Southern drawl trying to run a Boston ship-building company. Kevin Costner is a bad actor, who sounds ridiculous doing a bad Boston accent, and Chris Cooper is a good actor in a small role with not enough to do. Craig T. Nelson does a nice turn as an evil, greedy CEO, but even that is a stock Hollywood character these days. The director uses a lot of silhouettes, for dramatic effect, but it looks overused when used more than once.

Company Men.  Bad Company.

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