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The Company Men

A movie directed by John Wells

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In Bad Company

  • Jan 20, 2011
Written and Directed by John Wells
Starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Rosemarie Dewitt and Kevin Costner
Phil Woodward: You know what’s the worst part?  The world didn’t stop.  I mean, my life ended and nobody noticed.
I’m not sure if you were aware of this but the world’s financial markets crashed hard in the later part of 2008.  Thousands upon thousands of people lost their jobs, their homes and their lives as they knew them.  Two years later, the situation is on a reasonable mend but many are still without work and still losing their livelihoods.  I don’t mean to make light of these difficult times; obviously, you were already aware of everything I just wrote.  John Wells, one of the men behind the long-running television series, “E.R.” and the director of THE COMPANY MEN, however, seems to just be joining the table with his first feature.  The ensemble drama attempts to tackle the fallout from this economic crisis but only ends up playing out like a whiney reluctance to let go of America’s overinflated financial hay day.
THE COMPANY MEN opens on Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck), strutting into his fancy office after playing a few rounds of golf before coming in.  Little does he know, he is about to get canned.  The company Bobby has worked for for 12 years, where he earns a salary of more than $120K plus incentives and bonuses, is downsizing in light of the crash.  What follows this, is one overwrought termination cliché after another.  Will Bobby be able to make his next mortgage payment?  Will Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper) be able send his child to an Ivy League university in the fall?  Will that other random unemployed guy be able to find another job in his field or will he have to lower his expectations in order to make ends meet?  And it doesn’t stop there either.  Before the movie ends, some executives will feel great guilt over sacrificing people at the hands of the shareholders, while others will collect their bonuses despite massive layoffs.   All that was missing was some suit caving under the pressure and killing himself.  Oh wait, it has that too.
Wells clearly believes he is telling an important story and the men of THE COMPANY MEN (also including Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner and Craig T. Nelson) do their best to make the plights feel real, but the truth of it is that the problems they face are those of people who were already privileged to begin with.  No one here has to face homelessness or hunger.  No, everyone here has their savings to fall back on.  Everyone here had a great job to start with, which gives them an advantage over all the other people who were already struggling to begin with, when they lost their jobs.  All spending time in the company of these men accomplishes, as they lament the good old days when they used money for toilet paper, is the highly unsympathetic reminder that they were living way too large to begin with.

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January 25, 2011
Hm. I dunno, Joseph. Terrific review as always but I think I'll skip this one for now. Thanks!!
January 30, 2011
The acting ensemble makes it worth a rental but it is still insulting to people who are truly struggling.
More The Company Men reviews
review by . March 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
You Are Fired!
You take a man out of his shell and he’s vulnerable. The very thing that defines his existence, his job, when it is taken away, well… it’s hard to watch the way he loses his confidence, individuality and light. Yes, that very light that drives him to heights admired by others, including people whom he doesn’t even know. Nonetheless, take a job away, the man loses his gravity.       That’s what this movie clearly demonstrates. A company, GTX, …
review by . June 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**1/2 out of ****     I had a ridiculously hard time accepting "The Company Men" when I was watching it. Usually, with a movie that I have trouble accepting for what it is, I revisit it; but I don't think that this is a film that truly needs to be seen again. Granted, it was well-made, well-acted, and pleasant enough. But damn...it's so hard to relate to, even if you're a person in the same situation as the character.    People get laid off all the time in …
review by . February 03, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         The Company Men tells the story of people caught in the economic downturn that began in September of 2008. It’s a timely and well-crafted film, although I suspect the intention was less about thoughtful examination and more about appealing to the masses. Many films are intentionally designed to garner sympathy, but few are this forthcoming about it; scenes and characters are so perfectly in tune with real events that we’re basically …
About the reviewer
Joseph Belanger ()
Ranked #24
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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About this movie


The story centers on a year in the life of three men trying to survive a round of corporate downsizing at a major company - and how that affects them, their families, and their communities

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Director: John Wells
Genre: Drama
Release Date: 21 January 2011 (USA)
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: John Wells
Runtime: 109 min
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"In Bad Company"
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