What You Need To Know:
COMPANY MEN is a depressing movie that’s only redeemed by some fine acting and by some positive elements extolling family and a general belief in God. Ultimately, it’s also pro-capitalist, though it criticizes giving very high salaries to CEOs, especially when many other employees are getting laid off. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for the movie’s strong foul language and mature themes, which include suicide and adultery. Please visit Movieguide.org for reviews of the latest movies being released at your local movie theaters.
(RoRo, C, B, Cap, LLL, V, S, NN, AA, D, M) Strong Romantic worldview with light Christian element due to main character’s turning to faith in a general God via an unemployment support group, plus marriage is ultimately portrayed in positive light and the movie is generally pro-capitalist though it criticizes very high salaries for CEOs; frequent foul language includes at least 45 obscenities (including numerous “f” words) and several uses of GD; implied suicide as one jobless, depressed major character is seen getting into his car in a closed garage and starting the engine, cutting away to his funeral; implied and discussed adultery of a major secondary character, shown discreetly as he is in a hotel room before and after sex, but no depiction; brief flash of upper female nudity as man’s mistress gets dressed; male leads drink throughout, mostly due to stress, though one character drinks heavily into depression; and, married couple shown arguing strongly due to stress, but they always make peace and marriage overall is portrayed in a strong, positive, loving fashion, and man attempts vandalism while drunk by throwing rocks at the business that laid him off, but no damage occurs.
An almost relentlessly downbeat drama about corporate layoffs affecting a group of middle-aged and older men in the Boston shipbuilding industry, COMPANY MEN offers potent performances from an ace cast of top veteran actors in the service of a boring script that compounds its problems with a falsely hopeful ending that seems to come from nowhere.
Bobby Walker (played by Ben Affleck) is a suburban shipbuilding executive making over $150,000, with a loving wife and a somewhat distant teenage stepson, who finds his world shaken when he’s laid off amid mass corporate downsizing. Soon, he finds that his friends and mentors (played by Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones, plus lesser-knowns) are also being cut. The movie follows their attempts over a year to adjust amid a crippling labor market with age standing against them.
COMPANY MEN slowly and subtly details the ways in which Bobby’s life unravels, following him and his family as they give up their house, car and even the stepson’s Xbox. Yet, it tries to provide uplift and positive family values as Bobby’s brother-in-law Jack (played by Kevin Costner) gives him a chance to try blue-collar work as a home builder, leading Bobby to become less self-absorbed and enjoy life on a more basic, yet deeper level.
Other characters don’t fare as well, with one man carrying on an affair and another committing suicide. Even so, the movie commendably portrays these kinds of actions in an unfavorable manner. [SPOILER ALERTS] It also shows that Bobby finds strength by attending an unemployed support group that encourages its members to have faith in a general God and chanting about faith powering them through the hardships in life. Ultimately, Tommy Lee’s character saves the day by improbably spending his personal lay-off windfall to start a new ship building company and giving all his friends good jobs in the new venture, but this plot point comes out of nowhere and rings false.
Overall, COMPANY MEN is a depressing movie that’s only redeemed quality-wise by its actors and by some positive elements extolling family and a general belief in God. Ultimately, it’s also pro-capitalist, though it criticizes giving very high salaries to CEOs, especially when many other employees are getting laid off. MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution for the movie’s strong foul language and mature themes.
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