The economy is bad. Everyone knows it and is experiencing the pinch. That’s why a movie like “The Company Men” might find an audience, or it might not. While misery might love company, people rarely frequent movies plopping down their hard-earned money to be reminded how bad things really are.

“The Company Men” is a good movie. It focuses on downsizing in corporate America that has gripped companies and workers for it seems like years now. Bobby Walker (a very good Ben Affleck) is a salesman at a large company. He has it all—a beautiful family, a great suburban two-story home, and a Porsche in his garage. One day, the corporate bean-counters decide to institute another round of lay-offs and in that very instant, Walker goes from having everything to having much less. And in a few short months, Walker feels like he’s lost it all.

Walker is not alone. Phil Woodward (Chris Cooper), a long-time employee at the company who has worked his way up from the factory floor to executive, might have survived the first round of down-sizing, but the second claims him as a victim. And a man of his age finds the job hunt to be a dangerous and unforgiving minefield.

Meanwhile, the cutting isn’t over. Senior vice-president Gene McClary (Tommy Lee Jones) is not immune to lay-offs. Of course, given his years with the company and significant gains on stock-sharing, McClary doesn’t have to look for a new job—he can just retire to his huge mansion and various vacation homes. But the callous nature of the company’s decisions gets to McClary. Guilt sets in. How can choosing corporate profits over employee loyalty and good-will be right? There has to be a better course for corporate America, one that squares morally with making the all-mighty dollar.

“The Company Men” is written and directed by John Wells (long-time television writer and director on ER and other popular shows). And given his television background, this movie could easily serve as a great pilot for a cable series, one that takes a realistic look at the financial crisis. As a feature film, “The Company Men” works mainly by making us care for its characters probably because we share so much in common with them. And the credit belongs as much to casting as to Wells’ writing. In addition to fine work by Jones, Affleck, and Cooper, we get a very nice turn by Kevin Costner as Affleck’s character’s building contractor brother-in-law. It is a very solid performance for Costner who plays a working man convincingly. We need to see him more in this type of role.

Things are tough these days. As personal finance guru Dave Ramsey likes to put it folks are eating a lot of “rice and beans.” And during these times, a movie like “The Company Men” might not be your first choice. You might opt for a bit of ridiculous escapism like “The Green Hornet,” last week’s number one film at the box office. But for me a movie like “Men” is a much need dose of reality at the cinema–a cathartic experience most of us will appreciate.