In Good Company

Director: Paul Weitz

In his follow-up to the wonderful study of unlikely “surrogate” fathers, About a Boy, director Paul Weitz tackles male relationships of another kind with In Good Company, the story of a hardworking middle-aged Sports America Magazine ad salesman (Dennis Quaid) who finds himself working for a boss nearly half his age (Topher Grace) after his company is sold. At first asked to simply be an “excellent wingman,” to the boss, soon Quaid becomes Grace’s mentor and substitute father figure of sorts as the film goes on and the young hotshot realizes just how much about life he is unprepared for at twenty-six in the current corporate jungle of dollars over relationships. Their relationship is tested even further when Grace falls for Dan’s college-aged daughter, played by Scarlett Johansson in a role that frankly is underwritten and detracts from the piece as a whole as she’s not very sympathetic. However, despite the arbitrary, obligatory romantic subplot, In Good Company is one of the better movies about company politics since Jerry Maguire and Quaid is excellent and understated as Dan Foreman-- the actor continues to surprise us with each passing year and his ability to cue the audience in on the internal workings of his character with just a look makes his performance here the finest since his role in Far From Heaven. However, the real scene-stealer is Topher Grace, who Weitz turned to after top choice Ashton Kutcher bowed out. According to IMDB, Grace had to audition four times to convince the director that he was the right man for the job as his father was a businessman. You’ll find yourself smiling whenever he’s on screen as just as his character, the caffeine-fueled Carter Duryea demands, Topher Grace seems genuinely “psyched” to be there and manages to add warmth and humor to every frame. The film also benefits from cool, contemporary (and a few classic) musical selections that seem to become an extra character in the film as it goes on, complimenting the work as a whole in the same way that Badly Drawn Boy’s soundtrack for About a Boy added layers to that film.

Songs from In Good Company

“Glass, Concrete & Stone” by David Byrne
David Byrne - In Good Company - Glass, Concrete & Stone

“Solsbury Hill” by Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel - In Good Company - Solsbury Hill

“Reelin’ in the Years” by Steely Dan
Steely Dan - In Good Company - Reelin' In the Years

“Besame Mucho” by Diana Krall
Diana Krall - In Good Company - Besame Mucho

“Chain of Fools” by Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin - In Good Company - Chain of Fools

“Cannonball” by Damien Rice
Damien Rice - O - Cannonball

“Gone for Good” by The Shins
The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow - Gone for Good

“Those to Come” by The Shins
The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow - Those to Come

“Naked as We Came” by Iron & Wine
Iron & Wine - In Good Company - Naked As We Came

“Ten Years Ahead” by The Soundtrack of Our Lives
The Soundtrack of Our Lives - In Good Company - Ten Years Ahead