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In Good Company


In Good Company

Director: Paul Weitz
Runtime: 110 minutes
Cast: Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Scarlett Johansson

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Playing a committed husband and family man, Dennis Quaid soldiers through In Good Company sporting a look of constipated aggravation that befits his character's humiliating new station in life. An old-school ad salesman already uncertain whether he'll survive the Darwinian cruelty of his company's new management, Quaid is further distressed when forced to answer to Topher Grace, an overly caffeinated young hotshot half his age. Still struggling to make sense of a business world where long-term relationships and handshake deals have been replaced by mega-mergers and empty catchphrases, Quaid is even more disheartened to learn that his daughter (Scarlett Johansson) has started dating his precocious new boss behind his back.

Writer-director Paul Weitz, who made his name with American Pie before graduating to the adult and accomplished Nick Hornby adaptation About A Boy, sends the plot hurtling forward through liberal use of elliptical montages, but never quite finds the right tone for the material. Is it a social satire populated by glib caricatures? A broad comedy of personal and professional humiliation? A bittersweet, slightly melancholy drama? An allegory about the economic irrational exuberance of the '90s? A star-crossed romance? It's all of the above and not quite enough of any. Only when it wraps up all its loose ends with a feel-good sitcom conclusion does it finally reveal itself: It's an interesting failure rendered all the more disappointing for veering so close to success.