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Universal Studios Home Video presents
In Good Company (2004)

"He's the bossman. I'm the wingman."
- Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid)

Review By: Matt Peterson   
Published: May 09, 2005

Stars: Dennis Quaid, Scarlett Johansson, Topher Grace
Other Stars: Marg Helgenberger, David Paymer, Philip Baker Hall, Selma Blair
Director: Paul Weitz

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual content and drug references
Run Time: 01h:49m:35s
Release Date: May 10, 2005
UPC: 025192583322
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B- C+BB B

DVD Review

A young corporate hotshot being groomed for the top, Carter Duryea (Topher Grace) is in over his head. His parent company, the corporate machine known as Globecom, has recently bought out another company in a long line of takeovers. In the process, the clueless 26-year-old Carter has been made head of ad sales at "Sports America" magazine, a job formerly held by someone twice his age. The elder Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid), a 20+ year veteran, has been reduced to Carter's second in command. Both men find themselves in a precarious position.

Dan's life has been thrust into disarray. Aside from being demoted at work, his teenage daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson) is embarking on classes at NYU, his wife (Marg Helgenberger) is suddenly pregnant, and he is forced to take out a second mortgage. Carter, too, has troubles. Though his young life has been filled with success, he finds happiness elusive. He is newly divorced, and is slowly becoming adverse to the vicious policies of corporate life. To further complicate matters, a secret romance with Alex threatens to destroy his fragile relationship with Dan. Despite this minefield of tension, the two must learn to work together, hopefully learning about things more important than the bottom line.

Dubbed a "corporate feel-good movie" by Ebert and Roeper (a small genre), In Good Company is a disappointing entry that garnered a rather positive critical response. There are some obvious, interesting dynamics built into this tale, but the result is ultimately flat. Scenes that open themselves up to intriguing, witty dialogue are filled with physical gags and minimal interaction. Many scenes tend to cop out in this manner, making way for an overabundance of musical montages that caused me to groan more than once. Thankfully, the expected "corporate America is evil" tone is balanced with some fine, pro-business messages of reform; indeed, conglomerates and corporations tend to forget they are dealing with human beings, and having older employees around is by no means a bad thing.

Performances are decent, led by a quirky but capable Topher Grace (just call me "Thew," by the way). He has a tough role here, one that demands a corporate mentality balanced with a distinct sense of internal conflict. Grace delivers. Dennis Quaid seems a bit confused, drifting between bumbling father and bitter employee; this is a consequence of the script's lack of focus, not a lack of performance. His on-screen wife, Marg Helgenberger, is strangely absent during most of the film. Scarlett Johansson, the busiest actor in Hollywood next to Jude Law, is nicely spunky, yet mature. Even Malcom McDowell makes a cameo as Globecom CEO Teddy K.; his lighting and characterization suggests an entity more evil than Vader himself.

A few moments of humanity and conflict give this piece potential. Those with extensive experience in the maze of cubicle America may find some more redeeming qualities, but I was left cold.

Rating for Style: B-
Rating for Substance: C+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic 1.85:1 image is decent, showcasing solid color, contrast and detail. The image is pretty noisy/grainy for such a new film, and there are some edge halos to deal with.

Image Transfer Grade: B

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital
5.1
English, French, Spanishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby 5.1 audio is appropriately front-centered. Surrounds are only engaged for ambient fill and occasional musical support. Nothing flashy, but adequate.

Audio Transfer Grade: B

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 20 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
10 Deleted Scenes
7 Featurette(s)
1 Feature/Episode commentary by director Paul Weitz and Topher Grace
Packaging: generic plastic keepcase
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: First up is a feature length commentary by director Paul Weitz and Topher Grace. Their comments are quite lighthearted and funny. You can also find optional commentary by the director on the included reel of 10 deleted scenes (16m:09s total).

Next is a short documentary, or rather a collection of featurettes (23m:35s total) covering various aspects of the story and production. The piece is broken up into seven sections: Stars covers the big names the film; Youth looks at the film's themes and its young actors; Getting Older addresses the challenge of aging in a corporate world; Real Life takes a look inside the offices of Sporting News magazine; New York Locations examines the film's location work, and Scarlett Johansson's tennis abilities; Editing has some interesting bits on the film's deleted material (the first cut was nearly three hours...); and Story discusses the film's unconventional conflicts.

Finally, there is a section of text screens with info on the cast and crew.

Extras Grade: B

 

Final Comments

Paul Weitz's film is a disappointing comedy/drama that comes out flatter than its concept suggests. Despite some good performances and a few choice moments, this is ultimately forgettable. Universal's disc will satisfy fans.

 


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