The Company Men, starring Ben Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper, tells a story that will hit close to home for the millions around the world who struggled with the economic recession. In his directorial debut, TV director and producer of ER and The West Wing, John Wells, asks the hard-hitting questions about the lives of unemployed middle-aged men struggling in a competitive job market. With the help of a talented ensemble cast he produces a solid drama that explores the capitalist system and addresses the darker side of job loss.
The film begins with three unsuspecting business men (Affleck, Jones, Cooper) planning another day at the office, unaware of the layoffs planned by their employer, a shipbuilding corporation called GTX. The company’s ruthless president James Salinger (Craig T. Nelson) hopes that firing a large number of staff will keep his stock price high and keep the company out of the hands of greedy buyers. One of those effected by the layoffs is white-collar sales manager Bobby Walker (Affleck), who is angry as hell about losing his high paying job. Not long after, the humiliated Bobby is forced to make changes to his lifestyle, selling his Porsche, his home and cutting back on his golf. He spends his days alongside other unemployed workers, modifying his resume and trying everything in his power to get a job. Along the way he learns hard life lessons about humility, friendship and materialism.
The film suffers from a very slow pace, like there was hardly a rush to get the story told or get to any point. Of course, the great cast do a lot to remedy The Company Men’s many faults. The acting is nothing short of superb. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the film, which suffers from a number of clichés. Even still, it’s worth a watch. Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper are in top form here.