Company Man

At less than ninety minutes, Company Man still feels long. It is a slight movie in this and other ways, and will engender either mild amusement or intense hatred in viewers. Even those in the former category will tire from the ceaseless ramblings of Allen Quimp, unlikely CIA agent. Quimp (Douglas McGrath, The Insider, Small Time Crooks) was a schoolteacher who endured continual mocking from his overbearing wife Daisy (Sigourney Weaver, Heartbreakers, Galaxy Quest) and her family about his job. After one particularly brutal ribbing, he says he is a CIA officer, mainly to get his relatives off his back. One mishap after another leads the CIA to come to him for help, and hire him.

Quimp is an English teacher. He detests bad grammar, and will correct someone's mistake on the spot. He is extremely annoying and long-winded. This becomes his weapon. Quimp annoys people into submission. Since McGrath looks and sounds like a thinner Nathan Lane, he also manages to annoy the viewer. Quimp's mission in Cuba is to locate a possible turncoat. His predecessor, Agent Johnson (John Turturro, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Illuminata) went crazy trying to locate this double agent, while his boss (an uncredited Woody Allen) whines his way around the situation. In a very short time, Castro (Anthony Lapaglia, The House of Mirth, Sweet and Lowdown) overthrows Batista (Alan Cumming, Spy Kids, Titus), and it is up to Quimp and Johnson to set things right. Quimp is clueless about what is really going on around him. Everything he does is purely by accident. Still, he somehow manages to bumble his way through every situation.

Company Man, co-written and co-directed by McGrath and Peter Askin, is an attempt to present a comical look at actual events. They take bits and pieces of historical events like the Bay of Pigs, attempts on Castro's life, and Batista's loss of office, and offer an explanation: it was all because of Quimp. According to one character, Quimp is so inept that he actually must be a genius trying to be stupid. Company Man plays like Airplane-lite. There is no continual stream of sight gags; everything is aural. Askin and McGrath offer a constant barrage of one-liners and joke, the majority of which fail. However, the ones that succeed well (few and far between) work very well. The acting is bad, but the script intends it to be bad. Turturro suffers the worst since his character is loud and delusional. Everybody has one characteristic, then exaggerates it for effect. Daisy is out to write a book. She will do anything to try to get an inside scoop, so she can make more money. Allen and Cumming play, well, for the most part, themselves. Things are over-the-top for too long with too little time to ground the movie. Askin and McGrath are trying too hard, and as a result, the end product suffers.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 21 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual humor and drug content.

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