Javier Bardem is in top form in the witty, cynical and extremely current comedy by Fernando Leon de Arano (Mondays in the Sun, Loving Pablo, A Perfect Day). In this corporate satire that had a record 20 nominations for the Spanish National Goya Film Award (winning six, among them the most important, for Best Picture, Directing, Screenplay and Lead Actor), Bardem is Blanco, owner of a family business whose scales factory entered in the shortlist of candidates for the prestigious performance award. This award, in addition to prestige, guarantees additional benefits such as an advantage in money from national and European funds, and we follow in this masterpiece comedy a week of waiting for the commission that should decide who will take the award.
Blanco is one of those completely stereotypical industrialists today. He tells everyone that all his workers are one big family and that his door is open to everyone if they have a problem, but without any hesitation he will throw those same workers out on the street and fire them. He sees himself as a great altruist and benefactor who does unseen good by employing people. He is good with the mayor who sends him and his wife ballet tickets in the ceremonial box, he is also good with the owner of the local newspaper, who every now and then whispers some advertisements when journalists start sniffing something. He interferes in everything, he has to know everything and tries to solve everything, even the family problems of his employees, and a week of waiting for the commission for this guy will turn into complete chaos.
One problem after another will follow, and it will all start when the worker he fired at the beginning starts to strike and protest in front of the factory entrance. His first co-worker is convinced that his wife is cheating on him and that he will leave him, which is why his job is suffering, and there is a young intern in the marketing department who caught his eye without even knowing who she really is. Although the situation around him seems to be tightening and everything is falling apart, the precocious and resourceful Blanco will try to somehow turn it all to his advantage and profit from this brilliant satire that humorously but not at all wrongly shows how this machine works. As the story unfolds, “El buen padron” gets better and better, and Leon de Aranoa has once again confirmed that he is an outstanding screenwriter.
This was Bardem’s third appearance in De Arano’s film, and the Spanish actor, who we mostly remember for some much darker, dramatic roles, showed that he also excels in classic comedy. Bardem carries this whole story on his shoulders and just as much as his character is actually slimy, so much is the pleasure of watching him fall into one seemingly hopeless situation and try to get out of it. In a witty and extremely cynical way, De Arano’s “Good Boss” almost surgically shows exactly how today’s system works and how guys like Blanc balance and swim in it, and this film was also one of the best comedies in the last few year.
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