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The Company Men

The Company Men

Director: John Wells
Writer: John Wells
Starring: Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Chris Cooper
Review By: Griff

Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) is a well off business man who finds himself the victim of corporate downsizing after the stock market crash of 2008. Bobby is unable to find a job and when his severance pay runs out he is forced to work for his brother in-law as a carpenter.

There are several other side plots to this one as well. Tommy Lee Jones plays Gene McClary, the number two executive at Bobby’s company GTX. Gene is also fired after several insubordinate interactions with the company CEO over the firing of employees. Gene is not facing the same dire financial situation as Bobby but is lost and searching for direction after he is let go by the company he has worked for all his life.

Phil Woodard (Chris Cooper) is a lifer at GTX who crawled his way up the corporate ladder. He started working for the company in the shipyard doing welding and worked his way up to an executive position with the company. He is also let go and now in his early 60’s he finds it impossible to find work.

We follow the lives of the three men as they struggle to not only find employment but also to find an identity for themselves now that they are not defined by their jobs.

This was on ok film. There were some interesting characters and some fine acting but, I have never been an advocate of the multiple plot lines. Rarely does this work. There simply isn’t enough time over the course of a two hour movie to fully develop all the characters and as a result, we are usually left with a skeleton that never gets fleshed out. The Company Men is no exception.

I feel like this would have been a much better film if they had spent more time focusing on just the story of Bobby Walker. I would love to have seen more of the interaction between him and his brother in law, the relationship with his son, his wife, and his parents. Instead, we are left with short little scenes that are supposed to lead us to believe that the conflicts have been resolved. I felt dissatisfied with resolution of Bobby’s journey. The director seemed to be trying to drive home the idea that Bobby is a happier man now that he focuses on his family and not on work. At the end however, he goes right back to the corporate grind,
and I was left feeling like Bobby hadn’t really learned anything.

The Company Men is a good movie but it could have been a great movie with a tighter, leaner script. Chris Cooper is a great actor but his part in this movie should have been eliminated. The Tommy Lee Jones role should have been shortened and we would have been left with a much better film.

The Company Men gets 1 and half guys from me.

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