In Good Company

In Good Company


Reviewed by: Josh Morrall

From the director of About A Boy comes a comedy (of sorts) about a young advertising executive, Carter Duryea (Topher Grace), who replaces 51-year-old Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) and becomes his boss. In Good Company makes you feel at home from the very beginning, combining comedy, unease and romance in a heartfelt and loveable manner.

The simple nature of the film's structure and the relaxed camera work, focussing on attention to detail more than action, is complimented nicely by the actors' performances. Selma Blair, as Carter's dissatisfied wife, is the only irritant, bringing to the role the personality of almost every character she has ever played. Ignoring her and moving swiftly on to the firm-buttocked Quaid, we are presented with a well-timed performance. His deadpan delivery of some of the funniest lines adds great weight to the film's humour. Dan's utter distaste for Carter at the beginning sees Quaid handle the finer points of the Tommy Lee Jones school of "old-fart" acting with much success.

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In addition, we have a young, energetic Grace on hand to deliver a nervous and endearing rendition of a little fish in a very big tank. The chemistry between himself and Scarlett Johansson, as Alex Foreman, Dan's daughter, is natural and charming, the soft and touching innocence of youth pervading in what could have been paedophiliac and poorly directed. Instead, we are given not only two young adults discovering the harsh reality of love, but an old-dog-teaching-new-dog-old-tricks affair between Dan and Carter. The father/son element is minimal; instead Dan serves to show Carter that living a full life is all about making the right choices and not slipping into an artificial mould, which Dan has avoided at work by sticking to his personal-relations-above-money approach.

The symmetry between Dan and Carter is clear and perhaps too overt at times, although never seems forced, or uncomfortable, which fits in nicely with the relaxed nature of the film. Tensions are never high; action is never intense; sex is never arousing, just sweet.

This is a simple, delicate comedy that does not try to be something big, or glamorous. A refreshing ending, coupled with artistic flair, make In Good Company a thoroughly enjoyable film. I'm sold.

Reviewed on: 20 Feb 2005
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Ageist comedy of office politics and father/daughter issues.
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Angus Wolfe Murray *1/2

Director: Paul Weitz

Writer: Paul Weitz

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson, Marg Helgenberger, David Paymer, Clark Gregg, Philip Baker Hall, Selma Blair, Malcolm McDowell, Frankie Faison, Ty Burrell

Year: 2004

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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