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Charles 'Blackie' Chen,
Pete Cozy is having trouble resolving a happy marriage and family life with rising debt and a job he hates. When his new boss, Susan, a human dynamo, shows up, Pete is pulled into the maelstrom that is her life and made to work harder than he ever has before. Suddenly, money and opportunities come his way, but at what price? Written by
I wasn't really sure what I thought of this movie until the day after I saw it - which for me is one hallmark of a great film. This is a movie that appears to be one thing, a cynical office comedy, but ultimately turns out to be something completely different, a much deeper and satisfying look at contemporary American life.
When we first meet the Susan Felders, masterfully played by Parker Posey, we are tempted to see her as a larger than life and quite outrageous character. But by the end of the film, we get the clear realization that everything we've seen fits neatly within the prescribed limits of modern corporate norms.
The story is a kind of coming of age story for the protagonist Pete Cozy, competently played by Eric Mabius. It's interesting to note that Pete's struggle to find his place in the world during his 30's illuminates a kind of extended adolescence that has become a standard part of modern adult culture.
In many ways this movie reminds me of Up in the Air, which was one of my favorite films of 2009. It covers some of the same themes as that movie, but the characters are drawn with more subtlety here and the situations are more ordinary. Both films provide a commentary on modern American social structures with the corporation as the central gathering point. Whereas Up in the Air presented characters of mythical and almost melodramatic scope, here we see nitty-gritty scenes with very recognizable characters and motivations.
All in all, a very nice film.
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