Corporate Animals: The Absurdity of the Corporate World
The joining of terror with comedy is nothing new. In fact, in recent years, black humor has become particularly relevant in the movie world. Corporate Animals (Patrick Brice, 2019) offers us a parody of large companies, their internal hierarchy, and the kinds of situations that, although they seem crazy and quite horrifying, are pretty much an everyday occurrence in real life.
The film poses the question of what would happen if, suddenly, the employees of a company were locked up together for days. Demi Moore stands out in the role of Lucy, the tyrannical boss who tries to appear friendly, yet cares little about climate change unless the image of her company depends on it. In short, she’s a real she-wolf in sheep’s clothing who drives her employees crazy.
The plot is simple. The members of a company dedicated to the commercialization of edible cutlery go on a work trip. After carrying out various teambuilding activities, they end up in a cave. However, a small earthquake occurs, trapping them all. In a suffocating and claustrophobic space, all the grudges of work come to light as the employees fight to survive.
Craziness soon takes over. Cannibalism raises its head and the viewer sees a movie that switches from the laughable to the horrible in a matter of seconds. Despite the bad reviews received in certain media, the truth is that Corporate Animals is one of those films that invite us to laugh at our lives and alleviate some of the tensions we suffer daily at work.
Corporate Animals: an extreme situation
If you’re expecting to see a great comedy, full of intelligent humor that invites reflection, you’d be advised not to watch Corporate Animals. However, if you want to be entertained, enjoy yourself, and simply get carried away by a somewhat absurd situation, Corporate Animals is the movie for you.
In real life, work, stress, and your daily obligations often mean you’re unable to disconnect. When this happens, the best medicine is none other than laughter. You need to forget a little about your routine. The movie is a reminder in part, of all those activities in contemporary life, activities that become absurd at times and that, for fear of losing your job, you end up accepting with a bitter smile.
We live in a time when some large companies are more like a schoolyard than a serious workplace and in which creativity isn’t rewarded as much as obedience. That’s precisely what Corporate Animals is about. It’s a critique of these current models, of the tyranny and the power that the workplace can exercise over you. It mocks competition among equals and points toward a single culprit. In this case, it’s Lucy.
Right from the first minutes of the movie, you see how some of the employees agree to carry out activities that they’d never have done voluntarily. Why do they accept? Simply for fear of losing their job, fear of reprisals, or even fear of not being promoted.
Sometimes, you’re faced with unpleasant situations or those with which you don’t agree. At these times, a fear takes you over, preventing you from saying what you think. Corporate Animals portrays this terrible everyday scenario, yet in a rather absurd manner.
The will to survive
The fight for survival in such a confined space brings out the wild side of these individuals. In turn, the darkest side of the company is seen with the portrayal of a ruthless boss who manipulates her employees at will. However, if they’ve learned anything from this great adventure, it’s that teamwork can significantly increase what can be achieved individually. Therefore, in an ironic, dark, and laughable way, the workers seek a way to put an end to their ordeal.
Faced with an extreme situation, they let themselves be carried away by their instincts and their need to survive. In this situation, losing their job is no longer as relevant as the possibility of losing their own lives. Consequently, they resort to endless crazy situations that put their untouchable boss in a not-so-privileged place.
The cave, in reality, is nothing more than a metaphor for the constraints of everyday life, a scenario that airs all the dirty laundry of the firm in public.
A contemporary satire
It seems that Corporate Animals went largely unremarked on by the general public. It was seen as just another comedy, nothing new, and closely linked to the typical American comedy, those that, from a European point of view, are usually more absurd than intelligent. Indeed, it often resorts to the easy and archetypal joke, omitting, from time to time, the plausible.
Nevertheless, despite this, it’s a comedy that questions certain behaviors of large companies, the titans of the business world. However, in reality, its intention isn’t overly serious or deep, but rather it intends to make you smile and invite you to imagine the most outrageous revenge you could carry out toward your oppressors.
In fact, the movie presents the most macabre daydream. It suggests everything you might say to the most tyrannical boss if you didn’t have to accept the consequences. It also criticizes corporate societies in which the brand image ends up nullifying the individual, turning them into a number and squeezing them to get the most out of them in exchange for an extremely low salary.
An escapist comedy
Corporate Animals doesn’t bring anything new in terms of comedy but is pure escapism. In fact, it’s little more than a good laugh, although we can also empathize with its sentiments. Demi Moore is comfortable in a character that we can identify as the kind of boss who doesn’t hesitate to put her employees in situations that threaten their own physical integrity.
In short, we’re faced with an absurd and crazy comedy, rather American, and easily forgettable, but not irrelevant. It’s a satire of the corporate image, of the nonsense that prevails in the world of large companies.
Despite the ridiculousness of the movie, its message could be said to be somewhat more powerful than may initially be apparent. Certainly, you might well find yourself identifying with one or more of the characters. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, it remains little more than a pretty absurd and rather macabre comedy.