Saturday, January 22, 2005

In Good Company Is In Good Spirits

In Good Company stars Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, and Scarlett Johansson; with cameos by Marg Helgenberger, David Paymer, Clark Gregg, Philip Baker Hall, Selma Blair, and Malcolm McDowell. Written and directed by Paul Weitz.

[Edited] IMDB Plot Summary:
Dan Foreman (Quaid) is headed for a shakeup. He is demoted from head of ad sales for a major magazine when the company he works for is acquired in a corporate takeover. His new boss, Carter Duryea (Grace), is half his age--a business school prodigy who preaches corporate synergy. While Dan develops clients through handshake deals and relationships, Carter cross-promotes the magazine with [other divisions] under the same corporate umbrella. Both men are going through turmoil at home. Dan has two daughters, Alex (Johansson), age 21, and Jana (), age 16, and is shocked when his wife (Helgenberger) tells him she's pregnant with a new child. Meanwhile, Carter is dumped by his wife (Blair) of seven months just as he gets his promotion. Dan and Carter's uneasy friendship is thrown into jeopardy when Carter falls for, and begins seeing, Dan's daughter Alex.
This is another "controversial" movie in the sense that some people like it while others do not. Me, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. The story is reminescent of a middle age crisis. Quaid's character's life is in complete and utter turmoil: his company has been acquired, he's demoted, his daughter wants to switch colleges and live in the city and he has another kid on the way. Grace's character is in similar disarray but at a different stage in his life. The budding relationship with the daughter only serves to emphasize this point and stress the relationships, professional and social, that develop. There's no single, big "gotcha moment" or utter plot resolution but rather a nicely woven story depicting a few months/a year in the lives of the characters. A very interesting, engaging time period that changes their lives forever.

I wish I could place some qualification on my recommendation. Something like "if you like x then you'll like this." But nothing specific comes to mind. It's really just a fascinating tale with well-developed characters. And all I can do is strongly recommend you go see it. Because it's a great movie.

On a side note, it's nice to see Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace. Quaid does an impeccable job and really carries the movie. He's going strong, notwithstanding him being 50 years old. Meanwhile, Grace does a great acting job himself. I hope he gets more movie roles as I'd like to see him in more movies. I also hope he (Grace) gets some characters a bit less quirky. He does quirky very well as evident from That 70's Show. Hopefully he can do non-quirky just as well in a leading role. As for Johansson, I haven't seen her other movies yet but she's no slouch herself. I think she still needs one big role, a movie with her as the lead. That might pull her into the spotlight and better establish her Hollywood presence. Lastly, I'm glad Helgenberger (of CSI fame) was in the movie. She's an excellent actress and I hope she gets more roles, too.

ALAN'S MOVIE RATING: Theater-Worthy (if not DVD-Worthy).