Good Company. Paramount
Classics presents a film written and directed by Paul
Weitz. Running time: 110 minutes. Rated PG-13 for profanity,
sexual situations and brief nudity). Starring Dennis Quaid,
Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson, Marg Helgenberger, David
Paymer, Clark Gregg, Philip Baker Hall, Zena Grey, Malcolm
this review was written for my school newspaper, which adheres
to annoying standards of, like, journalism, so pardon the
change in style and length (although minor changes have been
made for the purposes of this site)
it can be fun to speculate on who the next "big thing,"
the next star on the level of Harrison Ford or Tom Cruise,
is going to be. My money's on Topher Grace. Grace, best known
as Eric on Fox's That 70's Show, has become equated
with clumsy, befuddled characters, and that remains the case
in Paul Weitz's In Good Company.
plays Carter Dureya, a young hotshot businessman who, when
his boss takes notice of his work on children's cell phones,
is promoted to the head of ad sales at a major sports magazine.
Of course, he has no experience in ad sales, so he latches
on to Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid), a 51-year-old ad executive
who used to have Dureya's job. Dan does his best to accept
the situation and his new boss, but things go too far when
Carter starts dating his NYU-bound daughter, Alex (Scarlett
Johansson, good as usual). His reaction upon finding out about
the affair is the best scene in the movie.
could have been an unbearable ass, pompus and self-absorbed.
This never occurs, thanks largely to Grace's performance;
you get the feeling that Carter knows just how ridiculous
he sounds spouting nonsense business language like "synergy"
and "paradigm." Surprisingly, the character proves
to be largely sympathetic.
more surprising is that the film, with its seemingly clichéd
sitcom set-up, manages to feel like something original. It
is at once lightweight and substantial; the humor is quick-witted
and simple, but the characters' relationships and emotions
are handled with care and honesty. Better still, In Good
Company doesn't end up going in the direction you would
expect. It has a frankness about the cutthroat business world,
and the ending highlights this cyncism.
always an effective actor, makes Dan a real person, world-weary
and working hard to support his family. But he is outshone
at nearly every turn by Grace, whose charm and charisma make
him an ideal candidate for superstardom.
Good Company is not a great movie, or even a great comedy.
At times, it can be a little obvious, and despite its best
efforts never manages to make any sort of profound statement
on life. But simplicity is not necessarily a truly damning
characteristic, and if you're looking for a respite from the
dark films of the holiday season, you could do a lot worse.
2005 Matt Noller, not that anyone would ever want to steal