The One Movie You Should See This Week

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Ben Affleck gets fired, Jim Sturgess escapes the gulag, and Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman try not to fall in love or something. Who gets your ticket money?

The Company Men

Director: John Wells
Cast: Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones, Maria Bello, Kevin CostnerI

It's déjà vu all over again this week, considering I first wrote about this downsizing drama back in December, and now I see it's finally actually getting released. But I'm still interested in seeing John Wells' generally well-reviewed tale of middle-class woe (starring Ben Affleck as a laid-off yuppie trading corporate spreadsheets for contractor sheet rock), even if the actor-y Baah-staahn accents in the trailer are a bit painful to my sensitive New England ears.

No Strings Attached

Director:Ivan Reitman
Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Natalie Portman, Mindy Kaling, Cary Elwes, Kevin Kline, Greta Gerwig

Here's a problem I've never had: trying to keep a sex-only relationship with one of my gorgeous fuckbuddies (this project's original title) from getting too deep and loving. Maybe if I was (or had ever been) a little more Ashton Kutcher-y, I'd find the premise of Ivan Reitman's latest high-concept sex comedy hilarious and relatable. But even if that were the case, the casting of Natalie Portman in a sex comedy would give me serious pause, since — despite her best and most studious efforts — the actress has never been especially sexy or funny. (Except unintentionally the latter, by that lake on Naboo.) So I'm pretty sure I'll pass on this one, despite a strong (but sure to be wasted) supporting cast including The Office's Mindy Kaling, Chelsea Lately's "staff homosexual" Guy Branum, and mumblecore sweetheart Greta Gerwig.

The Way Back

Director:Peter Weir
Cast: Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell, Ed Harris, Saoirse Ronan

The week's other big option here in the dreariest month of the multiplex calendar is this dreary-sounding tale of a Polish POW (Jim Sturgess) attempting to escape the Siberian gulag in the Stalin-era U.S.S.R. On the plus side, the film has received strong reviews, and director Peter Weir (helming his first feature since 2003's Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) has a solid and fascinating resume dating all the way back to 1975's Picnic at Hanging Rock. And maybe I'll eventually catch up with The Way Back on DVD. But if I'm gonna slog through the relentless snow of this dismal winter to see anything on the big screen this week, it sure as hell won't be a film about people slogging through snow.

The One Movie You Should See This Week: The Company Men