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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 Peter Sobczynski

"The Best Performance of Dennis Quaid's Career"
4 stars

In the new film “In Good Company,” Dennis Quaid plays Dan Foreman, the head of ad sales for “Sports America,” where his no-nonsense, man-to-man approach has helped lead the magazine to its most successful year to date. So successful, in fact, that the magazine is bought up by the conglomerate Globecom and many of those who made it profitable are let go in favor of Globecom management who hope to make it even more profitable by tying it in with their other assets in a display of that most loathsome word, “synergy.” Dan is kept on but finds himself demoted to working under a Globecom corporate stooge and is appalled to discover that his new boss is Carter Duryea (Topher Grace), who knows nothing about the magazine, knows nothing about ad sales (the genius idea that put him ahead at Globecom was cell phones for kids) and, worst of all, is literally half his age. As much as he would like to quit, Dan can’t afford it–his eldest daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson) has just been accepted to NYU, another is in high school and his wife (Marg Helgenberger)has just informed him that a third is on the way.

Therefore, Dan is resigned to serving as Carter’s “wing-man” but discovers that the job is a little more complicated than it seems. Carter’s bottom-line approach to business is wildly at odds with the nature of his new job, which requires actual human contact, and Dan is forced to teach him to do the job that he himself should be doing while trying to match Globecom’s near-impossible goal of a 35% increase in revenue without firing anyone else. Dan also learns that Carter’s inability to deal with people extends to his personal life–his wife of seven months (Selma Blair) has just dumped him and Dan finds his boss inviting himself over to dinner with his family. Things really get complicated when Carter and Alex meet and find themselves falling for each other leading to a tricky situation that no human-resource guidebook could have ever contemplated.

With its smart blend of office politics, social satire and human comedy, “In Good Company” has the feel of a Billy Wilder film–at time it seems like a contemporary riff on the classic “The Apartment”–and it may come as a surprise to some to learn that it has been written and directed by Paul Weitz, who is probably still best known for creating the original “American Pie.” However, his work here is so smart, strong and assured in both departments (as it was in his earlier “About a Boy”) that it now seems as though the grossout comedy may be the odd picture out in his filmography. While there are a couple of missteps here and there (another corporate stooge, played by Clark Gregg is too crudely drawn to be believed and a third-act speech in which Dan dresses down the head of Globecom is a bit too on-the-nose to be believable), his screenplay, for the most part, is an effective blend of hilarious comedy and thoughtful drama that never stumbles when shifting gears. More important, he treats the audience as intelligent people and gives scenes that could have been played as broad farce (such as the moment when Dan learns about Carter and Alex) a surprisingly low-key approach that makes them work on both a comedic and emotional level.

In the current “Ocean’s 12 , there is a joke in which Topher Grace, playing “himself” as a spoiled burn-out, remarks that he just “coasted through that Dennis Quaid movie,” a bit that plays even funnier when you realize that his work in the film is anything but. Oftentimes when an upcoming performer is cast against a veteran, the younger person is almost inevitably outacted and outclassed, but Grace more than holds his own in his work opposite Quaid; even in the early scenes where he acts as little more than a corporate drone, he allows enough humanity to shine through to make his character worth following around even when he is at his most clueless and obnoxious. He also plays well off of Johansson and the relationship between the two of them feels like an authentic pairing and not just two people shoved together by the whims of a screenplay looking for some youth appeal. The invaluable Philip Baker Hall also has a couple of nice scenes as an old-time businessman who relates to Dan’s approach and just doesn’t get this synergy thing at all.

What really elevates “In Good Company,” though, is the funny, touching central performance by Quaid. One of the great pleasures of recent years for moviegoers has been watching him grow from the rambunctious young stud whose initial promise in films such as “The Right Stuff” and “The Big Easy” seemed to dissipate in roles that required little more of him than his famous grin into one of the more reliable American actors at work today. Like Kurt Russell, he is one of those guys who has just gotten better and better over time as his acting chops have finally been allowed to take center stage and the result has been a string of killer performances in films as varied as “Traffic,” “The Rookie,” “Frequency”and “Far From Heaven.” Even in lousy recent films such as “The Alamo,” “The Day After Tomorrow” and “The Flight of the Phoenix,” his strong, self-assured work provided those films with a sense of gravity that far outclassed their surroundings. It is ironic that “In Good Company,” features him as a tireless worker in danger of losing his job to a younger, flashier upstart because Quaid’s performance shows that he is no danger of suffering a similar fate; this is easily one of the best performances that he has given to date and, even better, is the centerpiece of a film that is richly deserving of such work.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11369&reviewer=389
originally posted: 01/14/05 07:44:55
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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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