The Company Men is relevant without being preachy. It is a nice blend of ripped-from-the-headlines storyline and
Hollywood inspiration and hope for change. This isn’t a message picture, but it may be better because of the uplifting message that it ends with. With a terrific ensemble cast, each character is engrossing and real, allowing for the narrative to take some license with where the storyline goes.
The narrative follows the paths of several employees of one specific corporation as it takes the option of downsizing. Some employees are let go almost immediately, including Bobby Walker (Ben Affleck), who lives for his job. The CEO (Craig T. Nelson) chooses to continue laying employees off, even as he refuses to stop spending money for executive benefits and bonuses. When one executive (Tommy Lee Jones) speaks his mind about this injustice, he only endangers himself of being among the unemployed.
Under the hand of John Wells (“E.R.” “The West Wing”), who wrote and directed The Company Men, the subject is handled easily, swiftly and with concepts made quickly accessible by the audience. The film is entertaining and relevant in just the right portions. The other thing that makes the film a success is the cast, which give understated performances which prove much more endearing. The cast also includes Kevin Costner is a perfect performance as Bobby’s brother-in-law, and the only blue-collar worker willing to give him a job. Mario Bello also gives a chilling supporting role as the woman doing the firing.