The Company Men - quick review

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Patrick Sun, Feb 6, 2011.

  1. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    As a companion piece to "Up in the Air", "The Company Men" looks at the flipside of the recently downsized corporate employees through the eyes of 3 characters, Bobby (Ben Affleck), Phil (Chris Cooper), and Gene (Tommy Lee Jones), who all worked at a shipbuilding corporation. Bobby is the up-and-coming marketing exec who finds that his idyllic life being slow stripped away from him as his severance package runs out and he has to support a wife and 2 children. Phil is a long-time employee who eventually meets the corporate grim reaper, and his own circumstances and obligations prove challenging. Gene is higher up on the executive food chain, but his own reticence in how the value of the company is being manipulated through employee downsizing, and butting heads with his long-time friend and CEO makes him another casualty.

    It's not a fun topic, and might hit too close to home for some people going through some tough times. As Bobby struggles to find gainful employment at his current salary level through outbound job placement, the film probably depicts one too many unsuccessful employment opportunities, and you wonder if Bobby will ever find another similar job as his last job. The other subplots involving the older men, Phil and Gene, aren't as engaging, but still showcase the challenges that older people face when they have been let go, with fewer prospects for future employment at their previous levels of responsibilities and pay scale.

    The film will make you give pause to whether you really need to spend money on trivial stuff via a lifestyle that could be totally compromised if unemployment becomes one's reality. Not to say it'll make you go into bunker mode when it comes to stockpiling money and living a lean lifestyle, but it might be good to think if you truly need something when it's only a want that's being satified by its purchase. You might also want to do brush up on personal finances, and make sure your "rainy day" fund is sufficiently stocked up when the barren days might arrive unexpectedly some day.

    John Wells wrote and directed the film, and as his forte is in TV writing/directing, his cinematic filmmaking skills are yeoman and not too flashy.

    I give it 2.75 stars, or a grade of B-.

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