The Company Men
It's pretty arrogant to make a movie about a recent crisis that pretty much everyone in America lived through and expect audiences to somehow respond favorably. It's an even worse idea to frame that movie from the perspective of those who had a hand in bringing the entire disaster about. I mean, only the Japanese would make a movie about Hurricane Katrina that explored the delicate feelings of hundred mile per hour winds as they stripped the American dream from the streets of New Orleans and then drowned what was left under a billion gallons of water.
"The Company Men" lets us all sample the recession as it applied to those unfortunate few who couldn't make their Porsche payments and had to sell their million dollar houses at a loss. Boo-fucking-hoo. Is there really any empathy for Ben Affleck's smarmy executive sales drone as he eventually has to take a job hanging drywall to make ends meet? Is there any empathy out there for Ben Affleck PERIOD? Do I really care that Tommy Lee Jones loses his position as vice-president of some giant multinational corporation and sees his yearly earnings fall from $5 million to only $4 million? Does that mean he only gets to swap out his blood once in the next 12 months? Hold the phone!
Here's how "The Company Men" should have gone down. Instead of selecting only the oldest employees or those with the worst hair and the most offensive body odor for layoffs, how about a system where men like Affleck and Jones have to FIGHT TO THE DEATH using nothing but common office supplies as weapons? How riveting would it have been to see the two has-beens grapple, staplers in hand, pouring White-Out in each others' eyes and forcing the loser's hand through an industrial paper shredder before curbing that motherfucker on a 22-inch LCD monitor?
"The Company Men" wants us to feel sorry for anyone with a family who loses their job. Sorry, but I only respond to appeals to the basest of my emotions, like wondering whether the oddly-cast Kevin Costner is going to turn on the dimwitted Affleck at any second and impale him with the enormous nailgun he brandishes in every single one of his scenes. I propose that "The Company Men II – Nailgun Fight" be mandatory viewing at every corporate training session from now until my 401k is worth more than the GDP of Zimbabwe. Essentially, from now until forever.
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