I’ve been glad the Ben Affleck has had a great year and after seeing The Company Men, his year is only going to get better. Affleck could get Academy Award noms for both The Town and The Company Men next year.
The Company Men isn’t Hollywood’s first take on the Great Recession: Up in the Air (which best movies ever enjoyed since we like Walter Kern) covered similar turf in 2009 with its examination of a corporate hit man hired to fly in and fire downsized workers. But the new film’s square-jawed men in suits are a few steps up the food chain from Up in the Air’s middle managers. Affleck’s character, Bobby Walker, is a 37-year-old executive who drives a Porsche and spends his mornings playing golf at the country club. Unceremoniously dumped from the dizzying heights of the boardroom, he ends up doing construction work with his brother-in-law while he searches for another white-collar job.
So here’s how best movies ever can try to describe The Company Men for you all. Here goes: Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) is living the American dream: great job, beautiful family, shiny Porsche in the garage. When corporate downsizing leaves him and co-workers Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper) and Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) jobless, the three men are forced to re-define their lives as men, husbands, and fathers.
Bobby soon finds himself enduring enthusiastic life coaching, a job building houses for his brother-in-law (Kevin Costner) which does not play to his executive skill set, and perhaps the realization that there is more to life than chasing the bigger, better deal. With humor, pathos, and keen observation, writer-director John Wells (the creator of ER) introduces us to the new realities of American life.