The New Normal
3 Out of 5 Stars
Bobby (Ben Affleck) is your typical white collar success story. He has a
great job at a conglomerate company, a pretty neat boss, Gene (Tommy
Lee Jones), a good wife and two kids in a fabulous New England home.
Then the crash of 2008 occurs and Bobby's job, despite twelve years at
GTX (a transportation company of some sort), wasn't so valuable after
all. Soon he has to figure out what his measure of a man truly is, and
it's not pretty. "The Comapny Men" focuses mostly on Bobby's struggle,
but it is an ensemble film with strong support from Chris Cooper, who
struggles with the realization that a man pushing 60 in this job market
is paddling upstream against younger and cheaper help, Kevin Costner, a
contractor who is (IMHO) written into a cliched part, Craig T Nelson,
the CEO making 22 million as he downsized left and right, and Mario
Bello as the HR director who begins to doubt her ethics.
This is not an easy movie to watch, as it probably cuts a bit too
close to the bone in a country facing 9% unemployment. Bobby and Phil
(Cooper) soon finding that there are sacrifices both intentional and
unintentional that have to be made for the sake of survival. There's
also underlying messages about being prepared for the future and just
how much we've thrown away for "kids working for a dollar a day" (as
Costner's character unsubtly jibes Bobby incessantly). People are losing
their cars, homes, families and lives in reality; "The Company Men"
holds up an unflinching camera to this world. It's a good movie, just
don't expect a feel-good wrap at the end.