The Company Men

Rated 3.0

Writer-director John Wells, a maven of prime-time TV drama, finally trades up to the big screen with this solemn study of corporate downsizing. He’s got plenty of scale-appropriate star power with Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Kevin Costner and Tommy Lee Jones as suddenly redundant industrialists left reeling when the Great Recession comes to their Boston-based multinational transportation conglomerate. But because Wells is better at gradual portraiture than dramaturgy, the movie’s proportions still feel too small. It’s a gathering of good performances in search of a deeper meaning, and eventually cornered into a contrived denouement. The men’s familiar and presumably pitiable woe is not entirely cathartic, but it is at least as watchable as a collective cringe-worthy life crisis can be. Maria Bello plays their HR executioner. J.K.