Foreign & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video ">
Reviews of Recent Independent, Foreign, & Documentary Films in Theaters and DVD/Home Video
THE COMPANY MEN
Joining Bobby in unexpected unemployment is Tommy Lee Jones, a honcho who was there for the company’s beginnings, who righteously (and unsuccessfully) argued for stronger corporate integrity, and Chris Cooper, an old-fashioned suit who grows so discouraged by the hardships of his new job search that he holds daytime office hours at his favorite bar. Jones and Cooper, looking more ragged than ever, give credible performances as over-the-hill businessmen who aren’t quite sure what to do with themselves without a daily routine and regular paycheck. But Wells stays most focused on Affleck’s Walker, who with two kids running around the family home, can’t afford to go long without work. When his first few interviews don’t pan out as anticipated, Walker reluctantly accepts an entry-level construction job from his brother-in-law (Kevin Costner, continuing his trend of taking on salty, blue-collar, beer drinking everymen). Humbled by the new work (Walker’s much better with his mouth than his hands), he focuses on improving his self-esteem, spending more time with his family, and generally concentrating on the things that matter most.
reads like a weak pitch for a TV movie, you’ll probably feel similarly
about The Company Men as I do: it’s a trite, undercooked effort
that never makes the most of its competent stars (Affleck brings back
some unpleasant memories of past missteps here). The Company Men
is a Sundance movie seemingly crafted from NBC pilots in turnaround,
undermined by bad Boston accents, stock music, motivational chest-beating
that looks almost as awkward onscreen as it must have been to perform,
and plot mechanics more concerned about making it through the beat sheet
than maintaining emotional credibility. It deserves credit for taking
on relevant subject matter in a structured way that will likely resonate
with many, but its heart is on autopilot.