Entertainment Magazine: Film: 2010: "The Company Men"

The Company Men - A Job Lost

By Miv Evans

The global meltdown is spawning innumerable films and this is one of them.

It's set inside and just outside the corporate world but unfortunately never gets to the heart of anything or anyone and after watching for a while, it all becomes rather so-so. 

Not dreadful, not crashingly tedious, but just another title headed for an early arrival at the DVD graveyard.         

Bobby (Ben Affleck),  Phil (Chris Cooper) and Gene (Tommy Lee Jones) are highly paid executives at a shipping company but,  when the recession takes hold, they become victims of corporate downsizing and get fired.

Bobby and Phil are unable to sustain their expensive life styles but Gene is higher up the ladder and cushioned from the shattering reality of an empty bank account.  They all follow different paths in an effort to rebuild their unwelcome new lives.

One of the problems with this film is that all the characters already have too much.  Their houses are grand, their cars top of the range, and they and their families have been on a consumerist bonanza for years.

International Movie Release Dates

  • Norway - 19th November 2010
  • USA - 10 December 2010

The Company Men Movie Trailer

Watch the Official "The Company Men" movie trailer from Hulu. Click on the white triangle to start the movie. Bobby Walker is living the American dream: great job, beautiful family, shiny Porsche in the garage. When corporate downsizing leaves him and co-workers jobless, the three men are forced to re-define their lives as men, husbands, and fathers.

So when the rug gets whipped away, they have only their self-indulgence to blame and it's this lack of sympathy for their plight that stops us being drawn in and joining them on their journey.

We don't care if they can no longer spend $600 a month on dry cleaning, and giving your Porsche keys back isn't the same as being locked out of your apartment because you couldn't make the rent. 

It's all relative, of course, and their problems obviously aren't minor to them, but the writer didn't get us to connect with anyone before their downfall and perhaps if the story had been told only from Bobby's point of view, this could have been achieved.

At the end of the film, one of the families is still intact, but things work out for one of the others too, so the message can't be that 'family will be there when your job's not'.  In the film's trailer we are told 'In America, we give our lives to our job' and a few seconds later 'This fall, it's time to take them back'.  But in fact no one finds a permanent solution outside their job, and as the filmmakers have failed to send us a clear message, I'll do it for them.

"If we try and stop defining ourselves by our clothes, jobs and pizza toppings, and we end up in an even worse mess, maybe all this cerebral higher level mumbo jumbo stuff isn't for us, and we should just take the check (as long as it's big enough) and accept that some days we're the pigeon, and other days we're the statue".  It really is that simple.

Miv Evans is a British businesswoman who relocated to Los Angeles in 2005. She previously had a comedy drama commissioned by BBC TV and sold her first film to REN Media International in 2008 which she wrote, directed and produced.

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