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Overall Rating

Awesome: 27.5%
Worth A Look55%
Just Average: 12.5%
Pretty Crappy: 3.75%
Sucks: 1.25%

8 reviews, 32 user ratings

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In Good Company
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by Robert Flaxman

"Well, sometimes the business world's funny."
4 stars

Some movies are dismissed as television shows trying to masquerade as feature films by adding filler to a thinner plot, but In Good Company has more or less the opposite problem Ė itís a film that would have worked better as a sitcom. Squeezing a seasonís worth of plots into an overstuffed two hours, In Good Company is light and pleasant, but its surfeit of plots leads to most getting short shrift, which in turn guts the film of most of the emotion it could have had.

The wacky premises start flying from the get-go Ė Dan (Dennis Quaid) finds a home pregnancy test box and worries it belongs to college-student daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson), but it turns out that wife Ann (Marg Helgenberger) is pregnant again in her mid-to-late 40s. The pregnancy plotline is just one of many that could have been its own film, or at least a much larger part of a less busy one, but instead it is reduced to a handful of small scenes sprinkled throughout In Good Companyís length.

Next, Dan is demoted at work when the new owners of the magazine he works for bring in whiz kid Carter (Topher Grace) to lead ad sales. Carter, half Danís age at 26, is being groomed as a corporate shark, which he enjoys at first but which quickly costs him his fledgling marriage. Carter attempts to latch on to Dan, both personally and professionally, with mixed results.

One plot which is played up in the trailers but which is fairly minimal in the film itself is the courtship between Carter and Alex (to Danís expected consternation). The film briefly throws itself headfirst into the plot for dramatic conflict, but pretty much drops it as soon as it no longer serves that purpose.

On the whole, the filmís biggest concern is the Dan/Carter relationship and what both learn about their lives as a result. Carter sees Danís life as ideal and wants something similar for himself, while Dan recognizes how his life is being idolized and wants to make sure he get the most out of it. There is also some critique of the corporate culture worked into the film Ė it at least seems pretty dead-on, but is delivered with a minimum of subtlety.

Through all of the sitcom-style plots, the one thing that really keeps the film going is how genuine it is. Even as events feel pretty conventional, the interactions between the characters work, almost without fail. Credit here goes both to writer/director Paul Weitz for his perfectly realistic dialogue and to the cast for selling it all. Quaid and Grace are both pitch-perfect in the lead roles; everyone else is good, although few are given that much to do, not even an underused Johansson.

Realism of interaction isnít the only thing that makes a movie, though, and while In Good Company is near-perfect there, itís mediocre on a lot of other counts. The filmís overstuffed nature makes it ripe for a quick, too-easy ending, for which it ends up settling. There is also a surprising lack of emotion in the film, strange for one whose characters feel so human Ė itís not like Weitz is required to go for emotional broke, but the film seems to want cutesy emotional payoffs without really putting in all the effort to get them. The characters talk like real people, so itís easy to identify with them, but we only seem required to care at punctuated intervals. For a film about salespeople, In Good Company doesnít do the best job of selling its own high points.

Still, unlike its younger protagonist, In Good Company does not seem ever to have had tremendous ambitions Ė itís an amiable human comedy that tries to work in some emotion, and if it doesnít entirely succeed at the latter, at least the former is a pleasant diversion. If nothing else, it ends cute, and allows the viewer to walk out feeling satisfied.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11369&reviewer=385
originally posted: 01/27/05 01:30:49
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User Comments

1/16/09 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 4 stars
9/08/07 R.W. Welch Low key send-up of corporate culture has its moments. B- 4 stars
4/17/07 yuko it was heart-warming 4 stars
11/16/06 David Pollastrini scarlett Johanson is hot! 3 stars
6/12/06 millersxing easy to like. especially with several unsung performances gracing the screen 4 stars
3/09/06 Dk Quirky and interesting 4 stars
11/26/05 Chele This movie was so awsome! 5 stars
8/28/05 tony It was good but it was very slow i did not enjoy most parts but there was some funnymoments 3 stars
7/28/05 Phil M. Aficionado Too far-fetched, so excellent casting/acting falls short. Some good moments 3 stars
7/15/05 Dan Good movie, with realistic aspects and acting. 4 stars
6/17/05 stage I have thought about the underlying principles a few times since seeing it 4 stars
5/27/05 The Mockingbird a business movie with a heart, a real heart, who would've thunk it, the actors are terrific 4 stars
5/09/05 brody more ass taste then the olive garden 1 stars
5/06/05 Helen Bradley All round excellent, great cast fast pace script has realy message 5 stars
5/05/05 Kristi Achilleos very nice movie! cool actors! overall i liked it 3 stars
4/20/05 Dan Pretty entertaining, but not great. 3 stars
4/15/05 Jeff Gilliland Entertaining, but not a masterpiece. Too trite. 3 stars
3/16/05 Eschenennock Manville Another sadning trubute to love as what happened to older generations but little chance now 2 stars
2/13/05 chris. not bad, but basically amounting to a normal guy's life-not interesting 3 stars
2/02/05 Jim The Movie Freak A Damn Near Perfect Movie With One Of 2004's Very Best Screenplays 5 stars
2/01/05 Uncle Phucker A good little film. Not as hardcore as The Apartment but has heart. 4 stars
1/31/05 Danita Berg makes me clad I don't work in corporate America 4 stars
1/31/05 John scarlett is hot and the two guys can act...oh yeah so can scarlett 4 stars
1/31/05 sully straight to the air lines, kind of movie 2 stars
1/29/05 Caroline Reminded me of "Funny Girl" in that we leave the romantic characters separate, but likeable 4 stars
1/28/05 HL You can tell a great movie if you wanna see it again...not! 3 stars
1/27/05 Steve Michaud Its strong character interaction and its stab at corporate America make this worthwhile 4 stars
1/26/05 bobbi very entertaining because acting excellant; however predictable, contrived plot 4 stars
1/20/05 kel held my interest, but ending was sad 3 stars
1/18/05 ajay all the elements were there, but something was missing.. the dialog felt dry at times. 3 stars
1/16/05 J. Singletary My husband wasn't thrilled we were going, but really enjoyed it 5 stars
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  29-Dec-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 10-May-2005



Directed by
  Paul Weitz

Written by
  Paul Weitz

  Dennis Quaid
  Topher Grace
  Scarlett Johansson
  Marg Helgenberger
  Selma Blair
  David Paymer

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