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AT THE MOVIES: A different kind of office politics

In Good Company takes the corporate world and filters it through two likeable and realistic individuals.

In Good Company takes the corporate world and filters it through two likeable and realistic individuals.

Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) plays a magazine ad executive whose career is stable and successful until his company is sold and he is replaced by know-nothing 26-year-old Carter Duryea (Topher Grace). The new management keeps firing people, but Duryea keeps Quaid on as his wingman. In the meantime, Foreman keeps worrying about losing his job, his wife becomes pregnant, and Duryea develops a secret relationship with Foreman's daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson).

There are some things that really work in this film. The first is Dennis Quaid. You can feel his frustration in the movie as he deals with being replaced a younger man who doesn't know the first thing about ad sales. The anger and frustration explodes when he catches his daughter out with his boss and levels a solid punch in the restaurant.

The fatherly businessman role seems suited to Quaid, who has recently been in a splurge of movies including The Day After Tomorrow and Flight of the Phoenix. The character suits his humorous delivery and temperament far better than his recent forays into the action hero type role.

Grace is funny and serves his part well too. I expected to not like his character, but the truth is Duryea is an all round good guy thrown into a situation far over his head.

Johansson - whose character is much younger than Duryea's - seduces him, but she is probably the least developed of all the characters. Her choice motivation is a mystery. However, it is an interesting twist, considering for once it's the boss sleeping with someone's daughter, rather than someone sleeping with the boss' daughter in a Hollywood film.

The film is light and well- written. There are some humorous scenes, but the laughter is understated, and is far from the ribald comedy director Paul Weitz (American Pie) has been known to work with.

The age play in the film is good as well. An awkward scene really puts things in perspective. Alex and Duryea are playing foosball and Foreman comes out and says, "you kids ready to come in for dinner?" Probably not the best thing to say to your boss, even if he did just start shaving.

There are some weird cinematography choices, including too many uses of extreme close up headshots, which linger too long upon the faces of the main characters. It's almost uncomfortable.

But In Good Company is a good fit. It's fun, and you can read into it what you want without being overwhelmed by hidden meaning or suggestion. It may be making a larger statement about the generation gap in the corporate world and the effect it has on lives, or it may just be a movie about two ordinary guys.

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