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In Good Company

Movies | Without much profound to say, the latest film by Paul Weitz doesn't register thematically

Issue: "Abortion: Delta force," Jan. 22, 2005

Brothers Chris and Paul Weitz first appeared on the film scene co-directing the trashy but often-mimicked teen sex comedy American Pie. Later, they executed a surprising shift and directed the far more mature About a Boy.

Paul Weitz's latest film-he directed this one alone-has more in common with About a Boy than his earlier projects. In Good Company (rated PG-13 for some sexual content and drug references) has similar aspirations-getting at what's "really important" about life. Regrettably, without much profound to say, the film doesn't register thematically.

Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is a veteran ad exec and family man who treats his employees well and seems to have his priorities in order. When his magazine company is purchased by a huge conglomerate, Dan is retained, but knocked down a peg.

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Dan's new boss is literally half his age. Carter Duryea, Topher Grace of TV's That 70s Show, is the company hotshot brought in to cut costs, trim the staff, sell more ads. But underneath his super-confident exterior, Carter feels his age. He's got more money than he can spend, and his new wife has just walked out of their coldly austere apartment.

Carter immediately gravitates to Dan, but gradually insinuates himself more and more into Dan's well-balanced life. Carter eventually begins a relationship with Dan's daughter (Scarlett Johansson) that further complicates the movie's relationships. This subplot actually provides some of the story's real disappointments-Dan doesn't hold his ground as a father as well as he does as an honest and committed employee.

In this starting point of Mr. Grace's film career, he's a good match for Mr. Quaid, communicating the appropriate mix of smugness and suppressed fear required for the role.

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