Saturday, October 5, 2019

Movie Reviews: Corporate Animals

Corporate Animals
directed by Patrick Brice
Demi Moore has a new book out where among other things, she discusses the childhood trauma of being pimped out by her mother, sexual assault, battles for sobriety, and relations, sexual or otherwise, with various Hollywood actors, some her husbands, some not. Yawn. Don't really care about any of that stuff. 

We all have skeletons in our closets. Some rattle a little louder than others. Presumably the book release was timed to roughly coincide with this film's release. This could and should have been a better movie. 

Unfortunately the writers and directors chose to go for the gross, the shocking and the salacious all throughout the film, instead of using it judiciously. Even though it is apparently a small budget film I didn't think it needed to look as bad as it did. I've seen first time directors on a lunchtime budget make better looking films than this.

The subject matter, the corporate workplace and its tensions, is ripe for parody and satire. This could have been another Office Space or even Price Check. Sad to say though when your idea of a funny scene includes a fat man's full frontal nudity, nothing for nothing, but you and I clearly don't share the same sense of humor.

Demi Moore gives an energetic performance but the film's look and writing drag her down--along with some other performances that almost certainly were funnier as conceived on the written page than they were delivered on the screen.

Lucy (Demi Moore) is the CEO of a small tech corporation whose big idea is to make edible utensils. Lucy is one of those annoying women who thinks that she (and all women for that matter) can only succeed by being what they think of as an annoyingly aggressive male type A stereotype.  Just as bad, Lucy is a racist white person who thinks of herself as non-racist. You may not hear her throwing around racial slurs but she makes it clear to her minority employees that they will never succeed without her gracious and selfless sponsorship. 

Where the conservative racist may think that non-whites are inferior and should be kept away from white people, Lucy seems to agree that non-whites are inferior but is only too eager to provide them with the wonderful benefit of her leadership, while she incorrectly and offensively uses outdated Black slang.

Feeling that her leadership group could use a collective kick in the pants, Lucy forces them all to go on an advanced team building spelunking activity, even though the guide (Ed Helms) doesn't think they're ready. And the guide is right. When a cave-in occurs the team is trapped underground. And like the traditional blues couplet goes, what's in you has got to come out. 

Long suppressed urges and resentments can't be hidden any longer. And much like an incident I remember in my own workplace, some team members discover that what they thought was secret was always known to everyone. Ominously, the urge to survive will make people consider otherwise unthinkable actions. Lucy may be the worst of the bunch, but it's a very bad bunch. None of these people are very nice.

This wasn't a good movie. As mentioned something happened between the script and the screen. I laughed a few times here or there but generally this was not a funny film. Other actors/actresses of note include Isiah Whitlock, Jessica Williams, and Karan Soni.
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