Thursday, June 23, 2005

Movie Review: In Good Company

I went to the video rental store to get Hotel Rawanda, the kind of social/political film I enjoy. When I arrived there was only one copy left on the shelf. I snapped it up, rented it, went home, opened the case, and saw that the DVD inside was not Hotel Rawanda but In Good Company. What on earth is In Good Company? I didn't have time to run back and get something else, so I reluctantly put it in my computer and proceded to watch.

It's not hard to be pleasently surprised when your expectations are low, but In Good Company is a decent movie. It's written and directed by Paul Weitz, the guy who did American Pie, and has the same amount of 'heart' but far less crudness. The stars are Dennis Quaid, from Day After Tommorow; Topher Grace, from "That 70's Show"; and Scarlett Johansson, from Lost in Translation. The basic plot is that a middle age ad-exec's (Quaid) job is taken during a company sale by a young punk half his age (Grace) who starts fooling around with his daughter (Johanson).

When I put it that way, the movie does sound pretty stupid, but there's alot more too it. The characters and their relationships are explored in very realistic ways. There is no 'Hollywood' ending to this movie. (I hate 'Hollywood' endings). I also found that I could identify with Grace's character as a young man who's ambition has put him in a position where he's in over his head.

The film's also not short on laughs, but you have to have a dry, ironic sense of humor to get the jokes. There's alot of visual symbolism, so watch closely. And the performances from the actors are strong. Quaid's face is capable of expressions I didn't know people had, and Grace does well in his first leading role. Johansson is sublte and stunning as always.

My quibbles with In Good Company: Dennis Quaid's dribbling during the basketball game, the good vs. evil simplistic take on 'old' and 'new' business practices, and Quaid's sermon at the end.

In Good Company is an entertaining film with a good message for young punks like me. It's not an award winner, but I recommend renting it. 3.5/5 stars.

For the critics take on In Good Company visit Rotten Tomatoes.

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