Why "In the Company of Men" stank.

I Find Karma (adam@milliways.cs.caltech.edu)
Sun, 21 Sep 1997 15:16:01 -0700 (PDT)



DanK extols the virtues of "In the Company of Men.":

> But for me, it acted as a cathartic release of a lot of angry feelings I
> had built up. Last week, FoRK talked about how stimulants like Ritalin
> can calm down hyper-active kids when taken in small does. Similarly,
> all of the spite in this movie seemed to wash those feelings out of my
> system.

See, to me, there was no release, because the movie wasn't subtle at
all. It hit me with its points like a sledgehammer. I would have
appreciated some nuances of style, structure, or meaning. These were
completely shallow, 1-dimensional, unambiguous characters acting out a
simple revenge fantasy and describing exactly what they're doing every
step of the way. The revenge fantasy isn't fertile enough to be
satisfying; it's like what a pair of 8-year-olds on South Park would
come up with, only without the scatological humor.

But apparently I wasn't the only one dissatisfied with this "caveman"
approach to filmmaking...


> In attempting to convince a friend to join me at a screening of "In the
> Company of Men," I offered this plot summary: "It's about two corporate
> ladder-climbers who decide to torture a woman in order to reclaim their
> male power in our politically-correct culture." Her response was
> indicative of the heart-warming appeal this film offers to most
> well-adjusted people: "Sorry, but I'm scheduled to spend my evening
> licking my toilet."
> Although the torture is strictly mental, not physical, you'll spend the
> entire film deciding which of the males deserves the majority of your
> hatred: Chad (Aaron Eckhart), the frat-boyish instigator who spews venom
> at everyone he meets, or Howard (Matt Malloy), Chad's dweeby boss whose
> luck with women has gone decidedly south. To reclaim their maleness,
> they elect to find a desperate woman, convince her they're both in love
> with her and then disappear just as things get really serious. On a
> six-week business trip they find such a woman in Christine (Stacy
> Edwards), a deaf secretary.
> This film is pretty much like an episode of "Friends" gone horribly
> awry, analogous to Ross, Joey and Chandler spending their half an hour
> passing out naked pictures of Monica at the local coffee shop. The
> characters spend an inordinate amount of time standing around and
> rehashing the minutiae of day-to-day life. They stand on rooftops, in
> cars, around tables, in offices, and prattle on like drunken Aunt Gabby
> at a family reunion.
> This movie's premise, hailed by critics as "daring," is actually the
> path of least resistance. Director Neil LaBute spends his two hours idly
> jabbing pins into the superegos of moviegoers whose sensitivity training
> has rendered them hypersensitive to such stimuli. Consequently, this
> movie produces one of two reactions: The intelligent viewer exits the
> theater insulted by LaBute's simplistic intellectual game; the easily
> manipulated simpleton spends the whole movie looking to rip the penis
> off the first alpha male in grabbing range.


Beefcake! Man, I am so buff! Kick ass!
-- South Park