The Company Men is another movie of the times: the downsized, corporate ‘restructuring’ environment in which the small man loses and the rich and powerful win. Set around Boston (Affleck=Boston), the story concerns the fortunes of a transportation conglomerate, GTX. When Bobby Walker (Affleck) is called in to be layed off he can’t believe it. As pressure mounts to get the stock price up (so that a profitable takeover can be accomplished for a select few), more layoffs are imminent. First Chris Cooper’s Phil gets the axe and when his boss and long-time friend Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) storms around demanding to see the HR director in charge of the bloodletting, he finds she’s waiting in his office to give him his walking papers as well. Ironically, Phil is having an affair with her (Maria Bello plays Sally Wilcox).
We follow the three principals (the characters played by Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper) as they cope (or not) with their new situation. The most sympathetic of them is Affleck’s character. Unfortunately, Affleck just seems mis-cast. His wife takes him in hand and tries to make him face reality. She’s immediately going over their expenses to see what can be cut out. Rosemary DeWitt plays Affleck’s wife, and for me she’s the best thing in the movie.
As social commentary, this breaks no new ground, although I suppose the films attempt to see the world financial meltdown from the white-collar execs perspective is different. Ask me if I care. The script takes a fantasy turn when it’s offered that what we need to do is revive shipbuilding in Boston. A ridiculous premise and fat chance of that ever happening. Or if someone was so foolish as to sink their own money into a revival like this, then they would deserve what they get.