Here’s the set-up for The Company Men. Corporate downsizing. Layoffs. Profits over people. We live high with a high monthly nut. As couples we don’t communicate. Our kids are strangers. Our families are strangers.
This is reality in the U.S. in 2011 — or so says The Company Men.
Ben Affleck’s Bobby Walker is the film’s main character. He gets laid off from a mid-level, but highly paid sales gig at a company that builds ships. In debt up to his eyeballs, Affleck and his bride struggle to keep what the bank owns.
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Walker’s co-workers, some close, others not so close, suffer the same fate.
The Company Men’s cast is exceptional. Affleck’s co-stars are the always brilliant Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Maria Bello, Craig T. Nelson and a very nice almost cameo from Kevin Costner.
Writer/director John Wells — a well-known TV producer and writer — uses TV techniques to take his first shot at a feature movie. His cold, hard message — corporations don’t care. Stock share prices and profits matter. Nothing else. Rich, high-paid executives survive, the little people don’t.
It’s a song that has been sung for years and much more loudly since the Great Recession began in 2008. A couple of documentaries done last year sang it better than Wells.
This is not to say his movie is bad, you will be entertained. But mostly because of actors with the ability to sell his soap opera premise.
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated R for mature themes, language. It opens Friday, March 18 at Regal's Columbia Center 8.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.