Cast: Demi Moore, Ed Helms, Jessica Williams, Karan Soni
Director: Patrick Brice
I’m legitimately stunned that somebody thought it would be a good idea to release a movie like Corporate Animals in 2019. This has to be one of the most unlikable and mean-spirited movies I’ve ever seen. The only redeeming qualities it has is that it’s a complete throwaway movie that isn’t supposed to be taken seriously. The issue with this is that it requires the movie to be funny, which it’s very clearly not. Not only did someone think this was a good idea to release in 2019, but to premiere it at Sundance makes everything about this movie baffling. Maybe a movie that would’ve been funny in 1999 instead of 2019, Corporate Animals fails spectacularly on almost every level for most of its 86 minute runtime.
The film follows Lucy Vanderton (Moore), a stubborn, egotistical CEO of an edible cutlery company that brings her employees out into nature for a day of team-building. When her bossiness pushes the team into an advanced cave instead of the beginner one that is recommended for them, the cave collapses during an earthquake leaving them trapped underground. If all of them intend on surviving until help arrives, they must work as a team to use what meager resources they have to get through this time together without wanting to kill each other. As a general premise, this should work as something that provides a few laughs here and there and then keeps us on our merry way. Instead, Corporate Animals sucks out any element of fun from this movie and creates an atmosphere where every joke is uncomfortable and unfunny. If you like extended segments about male rape and a woman in power using her position to get sex from an employee, then Corporate Animals if the type of movie for you. It’s pretty bold for Hollywood to turn Harvey Weinstein into a punchline considering they let him continue this behavior for decades, but that irony was clearly lost on Brice. Combining this with one of the characters constantly looking like he’s masturbating to create the energy needed for a light source is the type of humor we get in a movie like this. If you like jokes and moments that require no brain function, this may be the movie for you. I’m pretty open-minded when it comes to humor, but when there’s no setup, conclusion, and the playing field doesn’t feel level, then the humor won’t work which is what happens here. Corporate Animals feels like if someone took an episode of The Office and sucked out all of the irony and awkwardness that made that show work. Corporate Animals leaves an icky aftertaste for a comedy and makes you want to take a shower after you’re done watching it. Maybe Corporate Animals works if you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but anyone willingly watching this movie sober is going to realize very quickly how much of a mistake they made by putting this on. This is the type of movie I wish I could erase from my memory, but unfortunately I’m stuck dealing with the fallout of my poor decision-making.
Overall, Corporate Animals takes every element of a comedy and throws them in the trash. Why someone thought this was the type of comedy to go up against movies like Late Night at Sundance is baffling to me and shows the lack of self-awareness needed to make a movie successful. It seems as though nobody really saw this movie, so for the sake of their careers these actors must be relieved to find out that nobody will associate them with the trash heap that is Corporate Animals.
Overall Score: 2.5/10