Sunday, February 20, 2005

In Good Company

The Yanks can't seem to satirise aspects of their lifestyle without also celebrating them. This was very apparent in Team America: World Police and it is again here.

The particular ingredient of American capitalism that is the subject of half-hearted derision here is synergy - the dark side of webbiness! Synergy is the globalised network of cross-promotion and factoids are its nodes. In order to interface with synergy we all need to develop "complex bonds" - an example of complexity being wasted on the utterly trivial, the consequences of which can be painfully disconcerting for all that get ensnared in the net. "It all seems so arbitrary" reflects one of synergy's victims at the end.

Was I pysched? By Denis Quaid, a bit, perhaps. It's a pity that Selma Blair had such a small part. I do enjoy her penetrating looks - unlike Scarlett Johansson, whose version of coy can be plain annoying. The fact that Alex couldn't find a way to fall in love with Carter Duryea summed up this character. Whether dressed as a high-flyer or like a delivery boy there's not much in there to empathise with. And must we really admire Dan for the way he cares about a dumb sports magazine?

In Good Company ends up by effectively proposing that with just a bit of attitudinal fine-tuning corporate life can become deeply meaningful. The difference is apparently whether you jog with a cellphone clasped to your ear indoors, or whether you find a way to do it outdoors on the beach.

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