Although it suffers from a typically, feel-good Hollywood ending, 'The Company Men' is nonetheless a better than average movie about business.
The plot revolves around a series of plant closings and massive downsizings at the fictional GTX (a multi-industry type conglomerate along the lines of Honeywell, Raytheon or Tyco). Indeed, Craig T. Nelson's portrayal of a Dennis Kozlowski-type, morally and ethically challenged CEO who rakes in $22 million per annum while ripping apart a once proud rust belt giant, is gripping.
The cast is rounded out by Ben Affleck (playing Ben Affleck, of course. The man has the range of paper airplane), Chris Cooper (who is superb in his everyman role) and Tommy Lee Jones (whose severely lined face reminds me of one of the maps we use to navigate mountain climbs).
The flick's seminal moment comes when a recently downsized Cooper strolls into a Challenger Gray-type outplacement firm and plops his world weary self down in a chair opposite a career counselor. The latter starts freshening Cooper's resume and making suggestions how he might reinvent himself. Cooper will have none of it. In response, the outplacement counselor slams down his resume, points her finger at Cooper and says, “You're pushing 60 and look like hell. Do you actually think you'll find something?”
I won't reveal any of the movie's twists and turns but, as I said it's well worth watching, especially for PR people. Here's why:
– I interview far too many Chris Cooper types who, after a career at a large holding company's PR firm or an in-house corporate communications department, have been set adrift in their mid 50s. They're floundering, have no readily transferable skills to a social media-driven profession, yet are still looking for upwards of $350k per annum.
– Far too many PR Millennnials have no real clue how the business of business works. Oh, they know social media and they get the rapid changing world of the blogosphere, but they don't understand PR's role within the larger organization. Nor can they read an annual report or balance sheet. Nor do they grasp the physical, emotional and psychological damage a downsizing will cause (unless one of their parents has fallen prey to rightsizing).
The Company Men is no Glengarry Glen Ross which remains, in my estimation, the single best movie EVER made about business. But, it is worth ordering on demand. And, as I said to my wife Angie as I watched Cooper suffer one indignity after another, “There but for the grace of god go I.”