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DVD Review: The Company Men

July 5, 2011

The Company Men – A VVS Films’ Release

http://www.companymenmovie.com/

DVD Release Date: July 5th, 2011

Rated 14A for coarse language and sexual content

Running time: 105 minutes

John Wells (dir.)

John Wells (writer)

Aaron Zigman (music)

Ben Affleck as Bobby Walker

Tommy Lee Jones as Gene McClary

Chris Cooper as Phil Woodward

Kevin Costner as Jack Dolan

Our reviews below:

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The Company Men DVD Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

After corporate downsizing forces him out of his supposedly secure office job, Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) struggles to find new employment so that he can continue supporting his wife and kids.  Eventually finding humbling and presumably temporary work with his brother-in-law (Kevin Costner), his journey is a universal one that will hit close to home for many audiences.  The Company Men shows his plight, as well as that of higher up employees Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) and Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper) with a much-needed dose of honesty and respect.

Written and directed by TV veteran John Wells, the final few scenes of the film are decidedly inspirational without ever becoming saccharine, and the messages are hard-hitting without ever feeling manipulative.  Striking cinematography from Roger Deakins keeps us mesmerized, even during the darkest moments.  The Company Men is ultimately an honest and refreshingly character-driven drama, anchored by brilliant performances and several painfully effecting scenes.

The DVD includes cast and crew interviews as well as a ‘behind the scenes’ featurette.

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The Company Men DVD Review by Erin V.  

***1/4 (out of 4)

The Company Men follows Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck), second-in-command at the company Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones), and another employee of many years Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper).  At the beginning of the film when Bobby is laid-off from his job, we are introduced to the story of how corporate downsizing affects the individual people.

The acting is what carries the film here, as well as the editing between the three intertwining stories.  The Company Men never feels clichéd, instead keeping its story grounded as believable and current.

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The Company Men DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

The Company Men provides an interesting and very believable look into the psychological and sociological effects of corporate downsizing.  The film follows three men who get fired from their white-collar jobs.  One of the men, Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) has a wife Maggie (Rose Marie DeWitt) and two kids.  After he is fired, he searches for work until he starts building houses with his brother-in-law, Jack (Kevin Costner).

The Company Men is a bit slow-moving and a little confusing at times, however it never delves into melodrama, instead providing heartfelt performances by the cast.  Affleck is particularly good here, giving one of his best performances yet.  One thing that struck me about the film is its emphasis on the importance of family.  It seems like many of the world’s problems can be linked to the increased breakdown of families and communities.  The Company Men is ultimately a well made drama that is worth seeing, especially by those interested in current affairs, psychology or social work.

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The Company Men DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

The Company Men is an intelligent and believable drama about corporate downsizing.  The story focuses mainly on Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) a young executive with a wife, Maggie (Rose Marie DeWitt), two kids, a big house and a Porsche.  When Bobby is one of the first executives to be laid off from a large corporation called GTX, his life and the lives of other executives who follow change forever.

It’s interesting to watch how the different individuals each react to their change in status.  In many ways it’s Bobby who changes the most, accepting that downsizing has an upside and life goes on.  The other two executives, Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) and Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper) have a different experience as men who find themselves aged out of the job market.  With excellent acting all around, a script that has a nice balance between drama and inspiration without ever feeling melodramatic, The Company Men is a believable depiction of an all-too-common story.

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The Company Men DVD Review By Tony

*** (out of 4)

The Company Men follows three men and their families in the wake of corporate downsizing of a Boston area shipyard during the 2010 downturn. When he is laid off from his six-figure financial position Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck) is at first in denial, expecting to find an equivalent job soon despite the degrading job search program he finds himself in. His wife Maggie (Rosemarie DeWitt) gradually convinces him that though he will have to give up most of the status and luxuries he thought were important they can still be happy together living upstairs in his parents’ modest city house. Bobby’s feelings of self-worth are further restored when Maggie’s brother Jack (Kevin Costner) lets him help with his home renovation business.

Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) had founded GTX, the shipyard’s parent firm, with James Salinger (Craig T. Nelson), who now wants to improve stock value prior to a merger by laying off tens of thousands of workers. Gene’s integrity doesn’t allow him to stand by and let this happen and he is let go, despite his special relationship with HR boss Sally Wilcox (Maria Bello), a respite from his society wife. The third casualty of corporate efficiency is marketing executive Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper), an employee for thirty years who had worked his way up from the shop floor. At his age employment prospects are close to zero and he does not take it well. However at the end of all the pain the film ends on a hopeful note as some of the survivors find a way to start over.

First written by him almost twenty years ago in a previous round of layoffs, The Company Men is the first feature directed by John Wells, the distinguished writer, producer and director of many successful TV series. Though some may find it preachy or the corporate jargon hard to follow at times, I found the script true to all the characters brilliantly brought to life by the ensemble cast. Shot by Roger Deakins, the British-born cinematographer best known for The Coen Brothers’ films, the film is beautiful to watch over the different New England seasons. The cast is well served visually among corporate settings, large cold houses and homey small ones, and the breathtaking ruins of a once prosporous shipyard. When I go back online to view the trailer before writing my review and am moved once again by what I see, I know my recommendation is justified.

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Consensus: Anchored by excellent performances from its all-star cast and a believable script, writer-director John Wells’ The Company Men is an honest and emotionally effecting drama that looks at how corporate downsizing can effect people at different stages in their lives.  *** (Out of 4)

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