|In Good Company (2005)
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Scarlett Johansson, Topher Grace, Selma Blair
Director: Paul Weitz
When a particular film has the untapped potential to make quite a rumble during award season, it’s extremely rare to then see that same film wait until the beginning of the year (commonly considered to be dead season) for a major theatrical release. Paul Weitz’s latest lightweight drama, “In Good Company,” is such that kind of film and has plenty to contend for with a smart script and two amazing performances by stars Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace. In lieu of the economic state that the country is currently dealing with, including corporate lawsuits and countless lay-offs, "In Good Company" manages to tastefully acknowledge the same issues with its comedic and heartfelt story.
This is the story of a hard-working family man whose life is turned upside-down when a hot-shot 26-year old suddenly takes over after a multinational communications corporation known as GlobeCom suddenly acquires the popular magazine Sports America. Veteran ad salesman Dan Foreman (Quaid) is one of the few lucky enough to keep his job when the tides are turned at the publication, but he’s also the only one brave enough to speak his mind when the self-righteous Carter Duryea (Grace) walks in with a mouthful of buzzwords and an endless supply of coffee. Carter makes it known that he's scared shitless of his new position, but he takes over as the head of ad sales anyway and happily names Dan as his wingman while he endures the emotional hardships of a broken marriage (with Selma Blair) and an empty social life at home.
"In Good Company" is a beautiful display of the classic American film that manages to sneak its way into our hearts a few times a year. Much like last year's "Sideways" in its level of realistic ingenuity, "Company" never feels over-dramatized nor does the comedy seem forced. Paul Weitz's last film ("About a Boy") was adapted from a Nick Hornsby novel, so it was still unclear whether the young filmmaker would be able to repeat his prior success with an original script, but his talent glows only brighter this time around. His latest work not only continues to illustrate his concentrated study on the male mind, but also of the unemployment world so well that it should hit directly at home for anyone in the same situation.
Weitz (the mind behind "American Pie") matures with each film he composes, but "Company" would not be as great without the perfect casting of Grace and Quaid. Topher Grace quickly proves that he is one of the few excellent up-and-coming male actors with his cool-but-not-collected portrayal of the smug Duryea and Quaid isn’t far behind in reminding critics not to count him out too soon. Their one-on-one chemistry of the father-son relationship that quickly emerges is on key throughout the entire film and they playfully outdo one another in each subsequent scene. The new year is looking good so far with plenty of upcoming films that should garner award attention, but as long as you enjoy Weitz's latest comedy, you'll be in good company.
There's not too much to look forward to inside on the widescreen DVD release of "In Good Company," but rest assured that a solid commentary featuring Topher Grace and director Paul Weitz eases some of the pain. Also included on the disc are deleted scenes and two production featurettes.