Parents' Guide to

Company Man

By Beth Pratt, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Political '60s spoof won't interest most teens.

Movie PG-13 2001 81 minutes
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COMPANY MAN is a gleefully over-the-top production. Like Forrest Gump, Allen Quimp has a talent for ending up at the right place at the right time and inadvertently setting historical events into motion. Unlike the other movie, however, this is a film in which silly gags and slapstick, not gooey sentiments comparing life to a box of chocolates, rule. To best enjoy this political romp, viewers should have some familiarity with the early 1960s setting. Although most teens will appreciate jokes about JFK's famous philandering, Marilyn Monroe, and "nobody ever buying something called a compact disc," a gag about how future leader Mikhail Gorbachev got the famous mark on his head may fly over theirs.

Still, even kids who have slept through history class may enjoy the actors' manic, cartoonish performances. Sigourney Weaver's turn as a materialistic, social-climbing Connecticut housewife who utters line such as "If my book doesn't outsell the Bible, I'll lose my faith in God" evoked hearty laughter from a young audience. Equally popular was Douglas McGrath's obsessive grammatical policing. However, not every gag works. A scene in which Allen and company plan to give Castro a bottle of shampoo that's mixed with a depilatory (they figure a bald leader won't be taken as seriously) but ultimately ends up being used by Daisy falls flat. And General Batista singing "Diamonds Are a Boy's Best Friend" at a lounge favored by blue-haired Miami Beach senior citizens was equally awkward. But overall, the jokes that work compensate for the duds. And don't rule out a sequel -- when the movie ends, Allen is sent to another "quiet place" -- Vietnam.

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