In Good Company (2004) Poster

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pied27 May 2005
Splendid performances by Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, and Scarlett Johannson.

Dennis Quaid plays the 51 year old ad executive whose company has been taken over by mogul Teddy Kay. Topher Grace is the hot shot who is sent into the mix to shake things up (fire people).

The interactions among the three stars is wonderful. I also enjoyed the genuine affection the family members had toward each other. It is nice to see family life portrayed in such a positive light.

The movie engaged me from beginning to end. The characters grow into their parts as the movie progresses.

By the unexpected ending I was totally engaged, caring about each one of these people.
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flotsom130 November 2004
I was able to see a pre-screening of this movie last night, and I was extremely excited because I have been anxiously waiting for its release. I have to admit that I was not disappointed in the least with what I saw. The movie had a good solid story of a middle-aged man dealing with both supporting his family and keeping his job (bordering on a mid-life crisis), and a young man dealing with a new job, being alone, and finding what he actually wants to do with the rest of his life. Sure, it sounds like a pretty typical "finding yourself" movie, but the characters develop the plot into something special. Topher Grace was excellent in this film. I found him very charming and believable, and he was sincere in his role. However, Dennis Quaid was really wonderful. His character was likable, and you found yourself routing for him throughout. His interactions with his family were endearing, and his relationship with his daughter Alex (Scarlett Johanssen) reminded me of my own father. I highly recommend this movie. 4/5
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Surprisingly VERY good
berisky-17 December 2004
Got in to see one of those audience recruited screenings. I was expecting sort of vanilla type movie, but was VERY PLEASANTLY is GOOD! Not superb, but definitely fun, original and very very topical! Dennis Quaid plays an ad exec whose company is taken over by a big conglomerate. Topher Grace, who is half Dennis' age, becomes his boss, and we see the dramatic and comedic dynamic (too may "ics") of the two men as they try to cope with an in flux work and home life. Dennis Quaid and Scarlett Johansson are very good, but Topher Grace is the body slam surprise performance here. Also, as a bonus for the audience, all the supporting cast is filled in with great character actors. I hate spending ten bucks on a ho-hum movie, but this one is definitely worth it. Story-9, Acting-8, Humor-9, Drama-8....OVERALL: 8.5
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Great Office Depiction
gregsrants23 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Sometimes it takes a real good movie about a particular topic to notice that there are no real good movies about a particular topic. The corporate office is one of those topics. Millions of us commute varied distances five days a week to plop ourselves in an office or cubicle and work in front of a high powered computer to collaboratively work towards a corporation's yearly objectives. Yet for all the hundreds of millions of us that go through this process on a daily basis, there have been so few movies that have captured the stresses, the backstabbing and the emotional baggage between both employee and employer. Hollywood has tried to make light of the office atmosphere with such tripe fare as 9 to 5 and Two Weeks Notice, but the offices that were generally portrayed were filled with high-end furniture, fantastic looking staff in incredibly expensive clothing and bosses that were either reviled or secretly sexually doted on. The lack of a realistic depiction of this environment was in the forefront of my mind when I lined up at the ticket counter for In Good Company. Written and directed by Chris Weitz (American Pie) and starring Dennis Quaid (Flight of the Phoenix) and Topher Grace (Win A Date With Ted Hamilton), I didn't expect much in terms of an office environment that I could relate to. To my surprise, I was wrong. In Good Company starts with the takeover of a sports magazine by a large asset-sucking conglomerate. As with any takeover, tensions and rumors run high amongst the staff of the magazine where the advertising sales have been headed by Dan Foreman (Quaid) who himself has devoted 23 years to the organization. But with one swoop of the pen, the magazine is purchased and Foreman loses both his position and corner office to Carter Duryea (Grace), a 26-year old suit that has aspirations of kicking corporate ass without taking names. Dan's initial shock over the situation is only overshadowed by his complete astonishment of working for someone half his age with no previous advertising sales experience. He has a family to support – kids to put through college and leaving his post at age 51 for moral issues is not part of the future equation. On the flip side of the coin, there is Carter, the young fish out of water that openly admits to a stranger on an elevator that he has no idea what he is doing. But it's a chance of a lifetime. An opportunity to give himself the life he always wanted - fortune, fame (in the form of senior recognition) and acceptance. With unsure eyes, he gains confidence in a development strategy. A career is born. But things go downhill for Carter much faster than his new wingman Dan. His dream Porsche gets smashed before pulling out of the dealer's lot and his wife leaves him on the same day. Carter decides therefore to live out of the office until a rhetorical and sarcastic invitation is offered by Dan to have dinner with his family. It is during Carters' introduction to the family that the chemistry between Dan's young daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson) and his new boss sparkles into a brushfire. When the two accidentally meet in the city weeks later, the relationship goes from a youthful infatuation to a full-blown romance. And this is where writer/director Weitz really impressed me. Both stories, that of the uncertainty within the office and the relationship between Carter and Alex unbeknownst to Dan are so strong and interesting that you can't put a label on which of the two is actually the sub-plot. Weitz is able to both stories and intertwine their relationships without having one feel like it is simply a crutch for the other. This may sound easy, but think of all the sub-plots in movies you've seen this year and how secondary story lines are there simply to either give an actor a bigger role or to stretch out the running time without adding value to the end product. In Good Company has many good points. The acting by the leads is top rate and the Grace and Johansson paring could end up being the Hanks/Ryan of the new millennium. These two above average youngsters took roles that may even have read cliché on the script pages and made interesting, vulnerable characters that seemed to grow years during the films 109 minute running time. But what I noticed most was the bit characters in the film and how well Weitz kept them real and founded in real emotion without going over the top for purposes of an extra laugh or dramatic moment. The office is filled with characters of different colors and sizes and they react to the downsizing with expected anxiety. They wonder what they will tell their wives. They wonder how they will support their families. And they leave in a fit of rage, feeling betrayed and under delusional impressions that the company will soon learn they have made a mistake. In Good Company is one of the best office setting films since In The Company of Men. Big recommendation.
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Very Good Company
elitt23 May 2005
What happens when a salesman in his early 50's is suddenly supplanted by a new young buck half his age, who also happens to be sleeping with his daughter? Dennis Quaid in one his best roles, plays Dan Foreman, an ad salesman at the golden point of his career. The magazine he works for is also part of a business conglomerate and when that're bought out, Carter (Topher Grace) is brought in to bring up revenue and replace Dan in his job. He also ends up firing many of the men that Dan hired, but keeps Dan on as sort of a wingman because Carter doesn't know anything about running an ad dept.

Dan's home-life is getting more complicated as well. His wife (Marg Helgenberger) is suddenly pregnant and his daughter (Scarlet Johannsen) is transferring to a more expensive university. Dan takes all this in stride the best he can because he knows he needs to hold on to his job because who'll hire a 52 year old salesman that commands his salary. But things start heading south as more and more of Dan's friends are fired and he soon realizes that Carter and his daughter are a couple.

This movie is very smartly written and very well acted. Quaid is at his best in these more reserved roles and Topher Grace is very good as the new stud, but unaware that he is in over his head. "In Good Company" is sort of an example of how out of control the business world has gotten with new technology and synergy, where the old timers really don't have much of a chance anymore because things are advancing so much. (***1/2)
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Foxhole Synergy
ferguson-65 December 2004
Greetings again from the darkness. Saw the Dallas premiere this evening of the newest from director Paul Weitz ("About a Boy" and "American Pie"). Weitz continues to show promise as a director, although again he struggles with poor pacing, even sometimes dragging the story line. Overall, this one will surprise as it is not as formulaic as the previews would lead us to believe. Dennis Quaid ("Far From Heaven", "The Alamo") continues his resurgence into movie stardom with another fine turn, this time as a middle aged ad salesman whose world gets rocked personally and professionally all in one day. Topher Grace ("That 70's Show") is the Yin to Quaid's Yang when he is introduced as his half-his-age, with no experience boss. Of course, it only gets worse for Quaid as his new, young boss falls for Quaid's college student daughter, Scarlett Johansson ("Lost in Translation" and "Girl With a Pearl Earring") AND his wife tells him she is pregnant - despite "being past all that". Johansson doesn't deliver the nuanced performance of "Lost in Translation", but Topher Grace will awaken many to his acting ability (check him out in "Traffic"). Philip Baker Hall, David Paymer and Marg Helgenberger are all fine in supporting roles and the great Malcom MacDowell is terrific in a brief cameo as a corporate big wig similar to Warren Buffett. Nice little story that provides a few touching moments and a couple of good laughs. This one should have decent box office appeal, while providing a Hollywood anomaly by displaying a well adjusted, happy family.
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Sprightly, Well-Acted Comedy/Drama That Overcomes the Threat of Predictability
lawprof17 January 2005
Director/scriptwriter Paul Weitz was blessed with a top cast for his comedy/drama "In Good Company." Here's a film that in some ways resembles and is a bit of a genre successor to "The Graduate," that 1960s iconoclastic gem. Even the new songs complement the story in the same way Simon and Garfunkel's lyrics melded with the story line in "The Graduate." Dennis Quaid as Dan Foreman is in his early fifties, a contented manager of a sports mag's ad department. His home life seems almost too good to be true. He loves his wife, Ann (Marg Helgenbergen) and gets on well with his two teenage daughters. The older one, Alex (Scarlett Johansson, in another deep and convincing performance), has a tennis scholarship to a New York State public university where the tuition isn't exactly sky high. But she wants to transfer to New York University in Greenwich Village to study creative writing where the cost is very, very steep.

Almost before you can get into your tub of popcorn Dan is struck with multiple whammies. His magazine is taken over by a mega-corporate raider, Teddy K, and a new ad department honcho, Carter Duryea (Topher Grace), only twenty-six years young, bounces Dan from his executive office while also anointing him as his designated "wingman." Earnest, inexperienced, foppish, supercilious and dangerous in that special way the inept invariably are, he poses a real threat to Dan's future. And Dan is worried about his future because Ann announces she's having a change-of-life baby.

And then Scarlett meets Carter. You need me to tell you what Dan's next mid-life crisis will be? "In Good Company" could have been just a mildly amusing sitcom. The fast-paced acting and the excellence of the cast - especially Quaid and young (she's still a teen) Johansson - kept me glued to the screen for the whole showing. And I admit to being troubled by the issues underlying and scenes showing peremptory firings. There's some ambiguity here - is that the only way for a prosperous corporation to go? Dan's pain at losing long-time co-workers is deeply etched on his face but is he more sentimental and loyal than realistic? I don't know. From the vantage point of a tenured academic with lifetime employment I found myself dragged into questions that I think Weitz meant to raise. Well, he did anyway.

Small roles are well performed by David Paymer as one of Dan's subordinates and Selma Blair who briefly shows up in the beginning as Carter's new wife, Kimberly. I always enjoy seeing this fine actress but her talent is wasted in brief roles.

And Manhattan restaurants where I eat and stores where I shop are all over the well-shot scenes and that always makes me happy.

A very good film.

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Too much obvious humor, but it hits on some corporate bull's-eyes
moonspinner5523 January 2005
Dennis Quaid is a husband and family man whose job as an advertising executive for a sports magazine is on shaky ground; there's been a corporate takeover and the new owners install a 26-year-old go-getter as Quaid's boss. Far too much corny, obvious humor (Topher Grace's car, Quaid discovering a pregnancy test box in the garbage) is redeemed by Quaid's nearly faultless performance. Never one to be scaled down without an effort, Quaid admirably gives himself over to this role; he doesn't chew the scenery (as Jeff Bridges might) and he doesn't go for broad personal affects (as Nicolas Cage might). In fact, he's perfect. Topher Grace has a difficult role (almost villainous--nobody likes THE BOSS), but he doesn't resort to sniveling and has many successful scenes. As Quaid's eldest daughter, luminous Scarlett Johansson has developed some actorly tics that I'm not fond of (faraway looks and smiles, confusion and curiosity always undercut by wistfulness), yet she does wonders with a thankless role. **1/2 from ****
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Wonderful Movie
DJDiG23 May 2005
This movie is one of my new favorites.

When a sports magazine gets bought out, Dave Foreman, an ad sales executive (Dennis Quaid) finds himself playing second-in-command to Carter Duryea (Topher Grace), a hotshot barely half his age.

Dave becomes both a rival and father figure to Carter as the two struggle to get through life.

Carter invites himself over to Dave's house to escape his loneliness, where he meets Dave's daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson).

The movie is more about emotion than plot. The acting comes across so genuine and moving.

Viewers of all ages would enjoy this movie, not just fans of Topher Grace.

It has a rather unusual ending which adds to the movie's touching nature.
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garethvk13 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Carter Duryea (Topher Grace) is a man with goals. At 26, he is heading his mega-companies cell phone sales, and is being groomed for bigger and better things. A golden opportunity is handed to Carter when his company acquires another mega company resulting in his placement in the recently acquired Sports magazine division.

The Sports publication is seen as the jewel of the newly acquired company, and even though he has zero experience with selling magazine advertisement, Carter is sure he can meet the lofty goals he boss has set.

At what should be his greatest moment, carter is troubled as his 7-month marriage to Kimberly (Selma Blair), is falling apart largely due to his workaholic nature and his inability ever to stop thinking or talking about work even when he is on vacation.

On the other side of the spectrum from Carter is Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid), a father of two daughters and devoted family man, who has been a salesperson at the magazine for twenty years and until the arrival of Carter, head of the department. At 51, Dan is feeling his years as the younger and ambitious Carter seems to be his polar opposite as well as a reminder that his best years may be behind him. Further complicating matters is that Dan's wife Ann (Marg Helgenberger), is pregnant with their third child at a time when they both thought children were past them.

Despite their differences, Dan and Carter work with one another, despite conflicts over issues ranging the future of the company to planned layoffs of staff personally picked years ago by Dan. One day after inviting himself to dinner at Dan's home, Carter meets Dan's college aged daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson), who although only 21 catches the eye of Carter.

Months later a chance meeting between Alex and the recently divorced Carter gives rise to a friendship/romance between the two that causes Carter to question his life and envy the family life Dan has been able to create and maintain over the years.

Naturally Dan would not approve of the relationship between carter and Alex so they must keep this a secret as there is enough tension in the workplace due to the ever changing business dynamics.

What follows is a touching, funny, and at times bittersweet look at life, love, business, and friendship that does a remarkable job of making the characters not only real, but sympathetic as for the most part, there are no bad people in this story, only those who are confused and unsure about life.

The strength in the film is mixed well between a good script, solid direction by Paul Weitz, and solid performances by all the leads. The pacing of the film is perfect as it never seems rushed and does not drag in parts. Even when two characters are having a simple discussion over how to best approach a client, the film always holds your interest. It was refreshing to see a movie that did not take the easy way out and try to wrap everything in a pretty bow at the films end, but rather like life, left new opportunities and directions as possibilities as after all, that is what life is.

There is also a very good message to the film about what is really important in life and the need to have priorities rather than title and position as the real measure of success is happiness, security and love rather than position and material goods.

Easily the best film of 2005 and one of the better films in recent memory..

5/5 Gareth Von Kallenbach + Syndicated Publications.
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Reminds me of Good Will Hunting
LSmith-2916 December 2004
Honest. Unpredictable... not neat and tidy like many romantic comedies. Outside of one Steely Dan song, the soundtrack makes the movie feel a bit slow-- however... the one liners make up for it. Carter (Grace) has one line to Alex (Johannson) while in her dorm room that is just awesome... think As Good as it Gets awesome... will purchase this one... It had a Good Will Hunting (one of my faves) feel to it... those are rare. Great date movie as well. It is more than a renter. See this one in the theater. Simply put, a great flick. It is so often that one (me anyway) sits in a theater able to predict the next line, action, etc. It is refreshing to walk away satisfied with an ending one could not have guessed.
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Corporations and Their Offspring, Employees, Unemployment and Family – A Tale About the Contemporary Labor Relationship
claudio_carvalho25 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When a famous sports magazine is sold to a huge corporation, the twenty-six years old executive Carter Duryea (Topher Grace) is assigned to be the boss of the fifty-one years old sales executive Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid), making him very upset. When Dan's older daughter has an affair with Carter, his world upside down.

"In Good Company" is a surprisingly good movie, indeed a tale about the contemporary labor relationship, with corporations and their offspring –that sort of person that steps in others to be promoted, employees, unemployment and family. The plot mixes comedy, drama and romance, and due to the wide range of age of the well-constructed characters, the viewer will certainly identify himself or herself with one of them. There is the middle-aged executive, afraid with the possibility of losing his job, and the insecure young executive, afraid of his position and responsibilities; the pregnant mother and her concern with her family; the daughter that joined the university, with the family needing a second mortgage to pay for her education; the servile flatterer, the gossiper, therefore, many ordinary people and situations that each one of us may face in the office or in our personal live. The conclusion, with the romantic pair following independent paths, is unusual in a traditional romantic-comedy, but it was a plus for me. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Em Boa Companhia" ("In Good Company")
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Didn't believe it for one second
Maciste_Brother9 August 2006
I really wanted to like IN GOOD COMPANY. The cast is good, the story sounded sorta interesting and the previews made it look like it was one of those normal films, where the characters are actually grounded and don't act like clichés.

Unfortunately, the story is bad. I didn't believe it for one second. Young hotshot (Grace) replaces dinosaur (Quaid) at a company. The young hotshot also ends up having an affair with the daughter (Scarlett) of the demoted dinosaur. I mean, come on. Give me a break. It sounds like one of those stupid slapstick comedy starring Ashton Kutcher but it's not. It's played straight, which is all wrong because the story looks like something you'd see on THREE'S COMPANY. It's not deadly serious but serious nonetheless. The tone was wrong.

The director clearly wanted to create some sort of Woody Allen film but he lacks everything in what makes Allen movies interesting, mostly the irony and humor. And the rhythm in which the said humor and irony is delivered.

Not worth watching, even if you're a fan of uber-hot Scarlett.
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Awful movie with nothing like a comedy
BABaracus13 July 2005
This movie contains nothing to laugh about, and is for that matter an awful comedy.

Furthermore does this movie contain the traditional morale which every American movie has, including a dozen hugs and lots of so called lessons learned.

There is absolutely no reason this movie had to be made.

However, the actors play their parts OK which must have been really hard because of the poorly written script.

Dennis Quaid is a nice old man, and Scarlett Johansson is nice to look at. Ashton Kutcher was right about dropping out due to "creative differences", obviously he also thought this was going to be a bad movie.
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Enjoyable from start to finish ...
Boggman10 June 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Every now and again, Hollywood churns out the kind of respectable movie that has it all...good acting, well written dialogue, fine direction, and some honest comedy and drama. These are the elements that make up "In Good Company"; a very bright film that explores coming of age on both sides of the fence.

Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is a 51 year old who has made a career by selling ad space for "Sports America". He has a well established team of employees beneath him and is very much respected by his peers.

Sports America has been bought out by "Globecom", and with the "take over" comes some restructuring and some "cleaning out".

Enter 26 year old Carter Duryea (Toper Grace), a Globecom employee given the opportunity of a lifetime to work at "Sports America"; cut their costs and increase their revenue.

As Carter begins demoting and firing people, he leans to Dan for support because he is young and really has no idea what the hell he is going to do. Dan isn't impressed by the young Carter, and never fails to point out Carter's obvious flaws and lack of experience.

Carter IS trying, he just has no direction. When his marriage fails and his wife bails out because she is apparently not getting any attention, Carter begins to get quite lonely; despite his financial success. He works his new team on weekends, and is pretty desperate for attention.

Carter happens to weasel his way over to Dan's house one weekend evening for dinner, much to Dan's regret. During the visit, he gets a chance to talk with Dan's daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson), who is about to start college at NYU. A future encounter on a city street starts a secret relationship ship between Carter and Alex.

During this time, Carter is firing people left and right at the ordering of his Globecom superiors. Poor Dan is losing his whole team, not to mention his faith in his career. He puts up with Carter, but doesn't really extend his friendship beyond work.

"In Good Company" works on so many levels. Dennis Quaid is awesome as the fatherly and wise Dan Foreman. Toper Grace is establishing himself quite admirably as a fine young actor. He plays Carter with much more honesty than arrogance. Sure Carter is a young, inexperienced hot shot; but Grace pulls off the character so that you really do sympathize with him and his dilemma.

The chemistry between Quaid and Grace is completely believable, relatable, and intriguing to watch. The supporting cast of characters are all fine actors-but the two male leads really nail their characters to perfection.

For this reviewer, "In Good Company" reflected what I thought of as a metaphor in the lives of older vs. younger in Hollywood as well as in corporate America. It's as if you have your more mature & well established actor (Quaid), passing the torch of experience to his younger nemesis turned ally (Grace). That's just my opinion of how well these two actors played off each other. After all, Hollywood is a corporation in itself.

I also thought the movie had a fine & honest ending that leaves the viewer very satisfied. It doesn't try to end on a phony, syrupy, & sappy note; like so much other Hollywood tripe these days.

Just a fantastic film..........all the way around.
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Sadly a disappointing film
mezzamac20 August 2006
I bought this film on DVD, without even hesitating. It looked like an interesting exploration of a middle aged man's struggle to retain his position in the world. Sadly, it was just a mess. Apparently (so the extras say) quite a bit was edited out from this film. Perhaps these scenes would have been key to actually understanding what story the filmmakers were trying to tell. I couldn't work it out! Seemingly, the director/ writer was trying to do too many things and cover too many aspects of the story. This meant that nothing was really explored fully enough to give an effective overall message, or even a cohesive through line to the film.

Performances felt honest enough, but I was left feeling like it could have been such a great film, if the director had only focused telling one storyline, instead of half-exploring a number!

I really like Scarlett and Topher, and Dennis Quaid (whilst having made some poor decisions in the past, seemed to really relate to his character), and I don't want to think that they are idiots. So I wonder if they read a different script before agreeing to do this?!!
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Ninety day wonder
jotix1009 February 2005
How many times have we witnessed the meteoric ascent of a younger person in our working place to a higher position, a status, we've figured they're not qualified to assume? This is the basis of this disarming Paul Weitz's comedy, based on his own screen play.

The changes that are brought into a company when someone that has no apparent qualifications is put in charge is prevalent within the American way of doing business. How many times have we seen these young upstarts derail a corporation because of their inexperience? More than a few!

If you haven't seen the film, please read no further.

Carter Duryea is picked by his mentor in the conglomerate where he is the rising star, and the logical choice, to be put in charge of the magazine that has been recently acquired by a business tycoon Teddy K. Carter has no clue of what he is in for. Most of the older staff members are canned, but Carter is no dummy, he keeps the talented Dan Foreman because he can be used. After all, Dan is in his early 50s, married, with a couple of children of college age, and in debt.

Carter has no life. His wife walks out on him in spite of the big promotion. Right after that, he meets Don's older daughter, Alex. She wastes no time in getting him into her college dorm room. Dan Foreman has no idea of what's going on right in front of his nose. After all, he dislikes Carter, and his ways, more than anything else in the world. That's why when Dan discovers the two lovers in a trendy Manhattan eatery, he goes ballistic.

When Carter's guru has a tragic fall, after he has served his purpose and has been used by Teddy K. As a result, Carter loses his job as well, because ultimately, Dan, is recognized for his own merit, rather than for being the yes man that Carter, or his superior were. After all, Dan is the only one that asks the questions that no one dares to, about the conglomerate losing vision on the magazine.

This acerbic comedy sheds a life on corporate America like no other one in recent memory. Dennis Quaid plays a brilliant Dan Foreman, the older man. Topher Grace is amazing as the young Carter, who gives an incredible performance. Scarlett Johansson plays Alex Foreman, a young woman without any hangups who enters into an affair with her father's boss.

Beware of those ninety day wonders!
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piece of crap
rojoreno25 December 2006
Comparing this piece of crap to Good Will Hunting is laughable. This witless movie is ridden with clichés that are embarrassing. I was not able to make it half way through this idiocy, what the heck were you people watching. Hollywood drivel at its best. That goon from 70s show is pathetic and Scarlett Johannsen should be embarrassed. And Dennis Quaid should be ashamed of himself. Crapola!!!

I got and error message when I TRIed to post, said i did not write enough. Any more comment on this movie is wasting your time and mine. Please do not rent, buy or watch. You'll be wasting valuable time that you could better put to use by folding your laundry, feeding your cat, or perhaps balancing your check book.

The only positive i could find is the woman that played Quaids wife.
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Confused Attempt at Comedy.
rmax3048234 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I wasn't able to sit through the entire film, so these comments are qualified.

The story is that the corporation in which Dennis Quaid, at the age of 51, is head of the magazine advertising department. The company is undergoing some downsizing and employees all have the jitters about being fired or reduced in rank -- "Let go," as the expression has it. Quaid is dismayed when he's told that he'll be demoted to assistant chief executive deputy of magazine advertising. "You're not LETTING me go!," he exclaims. "I don't WANT to go; you're firing me!" An amusing rhetorical point.

When he meets the new chief of magazine advertising, Topher Grace, his jaw drops. "How old are you?" "Twenty-six," replies Grace. "I'm 51 and you're going to be my boss." It's a humiliating experience. I was 49 with four college degrees behind me when I applied for a job as a pizza delivery boy, one of those kids who wears a colorful Edwardian outfit and shouts, "Look out -- hot stuff!" My boss would have been 21, but I didn't get the job after I replied to his query, "Got any delivery experience, sir?" Poor Dennis Quaid.

The movie has some virtues aside from these incongruous juxtapositions. The teen-aged Scarlett Johansson is one of them. Topher Grace understandably is smitten by her.

But Topher Grace's character is not one of the virtues. He's an innocent-looking guy, kind of appealing, but his character as written is a mess. He's supposed to be a whiz kid, but the examples of his genius that we see don't elevate him in my esteem. Most cell phones are bought by kids, so let's manufacture them in the shape of dinosaurs and instead of ringing, they'll roar.

It's hard to know what they were getting at when the part was written. He constantly confesses to being nervous, and yet he's adamantine at work. It's as if we were learning that Idi Amin was nervous. I suppose his confession is designed to make us feel empathic towards him, the poor kid. He's 26, making a million dollars a year and is bursting with social status and power, and we feel sorry because he's nervous.

I have a feeling that I know what the tale was getting at -- all these status discrepancies -- but the way they're treated resembles the failed pilot of a TV situation comedy.

It was a disappointment because, well, comedy NOW -- more than ever! And there have been some good ones -- "The In Laws," "Analyze This!", and "The Freshman." But I wouldn't include "In Good Company" on that list.
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Superficial treatment of serious social issues.
PWNYCNY5 May 2013
This movie was reaching for something but then stops and tries to muddle through as a comedy, which it is not. It is a hard sell to make light of people losing their jobs and playing up to bosses, and the phoniness of the corporate world. Yet, this is what this movie tries to do, with mixed results. Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace are good as the middle aged guy and the much younger upstart who find themselves in an awkward business relationship The story revolves around their relationship, which provides the basis for some satirical swipes at the institution of the family, parent-child relations, adolescent issues, middle-age crisis and the coldness of the corporate world. The problem is that the movie tries to treat all these problems as fluff, and as a result, the movie comes off as superficial. Comedy means making people laugh, but it's hard to laugh at people in crisis.
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Simply pointless
noodles-134 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
What is this movie about, after all? Is it about the though and rough fight for survival in the turbocapitalism era (which happens to have come to an end long before this movie's realization in 2004)? Or is it just a romantic comedy of the late fifties made up to fit the actual taste of the audience? Frankly, I do not know. What I know is that this movie asks some questions and always gives the easiest answers without any dramatic tension. The relationship between Quaid and Grace easily becomes a father-to-son mechanism, but without any reason. The merry family fits a scheme, as well as all the contradictions between the old fashioned guys (who are all nice and gentle) and the new guys (who are all late 80's bloodsucking yuppies). The somehow happy ending says it all. Rated 5
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Very Good "Company"
george.schmidt3 January 2005
IN GOOD COMPANY (2004) ***1/2 Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson, Marg Helgenberger, David Paymer, Clark Gregg, Philip Baker Hall, Selma Blair, Frankie Faison. Better than anticipated comedy drama from filmmaker Paul Weitz about a middle-aged ad salesman (Quaid, never finer) who finds himself dispensable when his company is bought out by a corporate takeover, which involves a new boss, who's old enough to be his son (Grace continuing to be the Tom Hanks of his generation). Things get dicey when his daughter begins to see the young upstart as well as each one discovering something unique about their situation overall. Very funny and surprisingly warm screenplay covers all the bases until its seemingly pat final act. Bravo to the fine ensemble especially Johansson whose natural style is a breath of fresh air.
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Great Film, Lousy Tagline
SWZwick21 February 2006
I caught this gem on a plane, and stayed awake because I really just wanted to watch Scarlett Johansson's lips move. As I found myself being drawn into the story, I began to wonder why I had never heard of this gem before -- now that I see the tag line, I get it: she is in no way the central character, but just a prop -- the real characters are her dad, played by Dennis Quaid, and her dad's boss, played by the kid with the funny name. Both characters are quite believable -- and they arc around each other wonderfully. The real central character is the kid, who is busting his butt to impress himself and his stiff wife, who seems to cringe whenever he is in the room. He is annoying and driven -- but clearly on a path that doesn't suit him. His silly marketing ideas actually seem to work for the kiddie crowd, and he is placed in charge of ad sales for a respected sports magazine -- where he displaces the Quaid character, who is himself juggling a ton of pressures since his lovely daughter (Johansson) is going to NYU and his lovely wife is unexpectedly pregnant. He is dealing with his own ageing, his daughters' both coming of age, his latest confrontation with fatherhood, and now a boy boss -- who begins looking to him for guidance, but also isn't above threatening him if he doesn't play ball. But the Quaid character knows his own core values, and he doesn't deviate from them -- is he a dinosaur, or is the kid a flash in the pan? Well, I don't want to give too much away, but let's just say that the writers on this really knew what they were doing -- as did whoever casted this thing. All conflicts are resolved to my satisfaction -- and that does not mean all the good guys win economically. Also impressive: there are no real bad guys. Even the total heavy, a sort of cartoon Carl Icahn played by Malcomb McDowell, doesn't come off as all that bad. He is just the agent of change... And when bad guys get hit, they become victims. Just a very tight film, with characters you care about. And Scarlett's lips do move exquisitely well...
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Current and resonating
mr0goodtime28 May 2005
Hollywood never had much of a clue about the experience of working in a large corporation, but this is the only movie I ever saw that expressed the helplessness of having ones career in the hands of corporate power brokers who are as clueless as they are reckless.

Its also the first great Dennis Quaid performance I've seen. His character has charm and dignity throughout events that belittle him. His company is reorganized justified by immature corporate cogs, spouting buzz words like synergy. His friends are fired, and he is demoted, yielding his role to a 26 year old, corporate phony, Carter Duryea, played by Topher Grace.

The acting performances were pretty good across the board, one of the fine points of this film was Carter's development from selfish to selfless. Scarlett Johansson is as sweet as ever. My only complaint was the happy ending was too contrived for an otherwise realistic movie. I would recommend this to almost anyone, but particularly to those who work in large companies.
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Neat little sleeper
Thunderbuck18 May 2005
With Scarlett Johansson in the cast, I couldn't help but consider IN GOOD COMPANY in light of her breakout film last year, LOST IN TRANSLATION. I didn't like TRANSLATION at all (even if Ms Johansson was lovely in it), and couldn't understand why it managed to generate the extraordinary buzz that it did.

Now, here she is in COMPANY, and I'm frustrated even more, this time because this film was largely ignored when it was released late in 2004. This is a gem of a movie. The situation is largely believable, and the characters are full and human. I particularly liked the first hour of the movie, where the story struck a wonderful balance between Topher Grace's Carter Duryea and Dennis Quaid's Dan Foreman. Despite their antagonistic positions, both are very sympathetic; nice trick. (A side note--it's REALLY nice to see Dennis Quaid working again, especially when he's getting such a great character to play with) And, yes, Scarlett Johansson is WONDERFUL. At times gawky, at times graceful, she is a wonderful presence in this film. A brief confrontation between Alex and Dan late in the film is utterly convincing.

Yes, the story meanders a bit, but so does life at times. A good movie can get away with it. Yes, the ending is too tidy, but it's not so bad that it ruins the effect. IN GOOD COMPANY is a very good comedy about men. Works for me.
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