Company Man | Chicago Reader

Company Man

I certainly wanted to like this belatedly released comedy, about the bumbling inefficiency of the CIA—the organization that under the inspired auspices of George Bush sponsored and promoted Saddam Hussein, and also inspired Elaine May's underrated satire Ishtar. But this is the unfunniest comedy I can recall seeing in ages, and considering that it was copyrighted in 1999, many others must have felt the same way; why it's being released now is anyone's guess. The star is cowriter and codirector Douglas McGrath, who also cowrote Bullets Over Broadway; he plays a wimpy grammar teacher who finds himself working for the CIA in Cuba in the early 60s, trying to overthrow Castro (Anthony LaPaglia). As an actor he isn't bad, and as a scriptwriter he's no slouch, but when it comes to the direction that's credited to him and cowriter Peter Askin, the CIA itself might have done a better job. The main instruction to the cast appears to have been “Overact”—perhaps the unfortunate legacy of Askin's stage background—which has a murderous effect on the performances of John Turturro, Woody Allen, and Sigourney Weaver, among others. 81 min.

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