Good cast makes for bad Company

The Company Men sucked. There is no polite, articulate way of disguising the fact that writer and director John Wells’ film moves at a glacial pace — the characters are as stiff as the monochromatic suits that they all wear. It is a boring, predictable film and, most egregiously, it is a waste of a great cast.

Though casting directors often go ignored, hot-damn did this one earn their pay. Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, the delightful John Doman from HBO’s The Wire and the charming Rosemarie DeWitt create an diverse and interesting cast obviously capable of some amazing performances. But instead, they were entirely wasted on this stilted, substandard effort from Wells. He had a chance to truly say something with this timely film about corporate greed and injustice, yet the only lasting message is “losing your job sucks.” Really? Thanks. Got it. Oh, and Ben Affleck and Kevin Costner were left off the previous list because you have to have talent in order for it to be wasted.

The film is set in the depths of the recent financial crisis with thousands of poor Americans losing their jobs to improve corporate bottom lines and increase stock prices. Unfortunately, Wells focused primarily on Bobby Walker, played by Affleck, to expound upon the woes of the recently unemployed. This involves Affleck doing a annoyingly convincing job of acting like a petulant child, refusing to face the realities of a diminished/non-existent income. Walker’s wife, played by DeWitt, repeatedly tells Walker to face the reality of unemployment and his irrational refusal gets pretty old after the ninth time.

But all is not lost for Mr. Walker. He is given a job working construction by his brother-in-law who hates him (Costner). Wells attempts some sort of “personal redemption through physical labour” type sub-plot here, but it essentially falls flat. And that’s the biggest problem with the movie. It introduces far more characters that it has time to develop or explore and therefore ends up skimming through a massive list of possible character issues and conflicts without ever really tackling any of them.

To sum up, don’t see The Company Men. Not only is it vaguely depressing, but it is simply a bad movie. There is no real conflict in the movie, no real sense of character growth and incredibly little plot development to balance it out. Save yourself some time and stay home this weekend. I’m sure AMC will be showing Back to the Future II.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.