Tuesday, May 06, 2008

REVIEW: In Good Company

In Good Company

Year: 2004
Director: Paul Weitz
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson, Marg Helgenberger, Selma Blair
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13

In Good Company is a movie I have been wanting to see for awhile now. I haven't known of its existence only until a couple days ago when I saw it airing on the USA channel. I immediately stopped myself from watching it because it was already half way through the movie and I didn't want to spoil the movie so I waited. I waited until the next day I rented the movie so I can view it from start to finish and write a review for it. Now In Good Company isn't your typical comedy movie. The movie actually did good in theaters when it released in 2004. Grossing an estimated $61 million worldwide on a budget of $15 million. It made more than enough to pay back the studio for its budget. Now being a pretty good Topher Grace fan from watching That '70s Show, it was only natural that I give this movie a look. After just having seen the film, I'm happy to say the movie turned out to be surprisingly good.

Plot Outline:
Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is a middle aged ad executive who works for a sports magazine called Sports America. When the company is sold off in a corporate takeover, he is demoted to a lower position, now working under Carter Duryea (Topher Grace), who is half his age. Add to this the fact that his wife Ann (Marg Helgenberger) is expecting a child and his daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson) has switched from a relatively cheap college to a more expensive one while also dating Dan's boss Carter. Its become a rather stressful time in Dan's life.

The story of In Good Company is surprisingly good. Even though I'm a Topher Grace fan, I honestly wasn't expecting too much from this film, but it delivered. Paul Weitz who directed the wonderful 2002 movie "About a Boy" hits gold again with this film. The movies plot is rather interesting. I thought the characters in the movie where very likable and enjoyable. From watching the first 25 minutes of the movie, it might give you the impression that its a pretty straight forward movie, but its surprisingly not. The final act is not what I had expected and the movie definitely threw a curve ball at me. While some might say the ending was good and conclusive, I'm still not sure on it.. I thought it was good, but I kind of wanted it the other way around where everyone is happy. I don't know, maybe because I thought the story was going that way. I'm sure people would have thought it to be predictable had it gone the way I wanted, but so what. I'm sure the movie still would have been great with or with out it. This is still a good movie and much better than I had originally expected.

The cast of In Good Company is also quite good. Dennis Quaid plays as Dan Foreman who is the main focus of our film. He does a good job in his role and I very much enjoyed his performance. I thought he was great casting for this movie. Topher Grace plays as Carter Duryea and he too does a good job in his role. I really thought he wasn't going to fit too well with this cast, but I was convinced he was. He gives a very energetic performance that I haven't seen since his days on That '70s Show. Scarlett Johansson plays as Alex Foreman and she gives an average performance. Its nothing special like the one she gave in Lost in Translation, but it still works. We also have Marg Helgenberger playing as Ann Foreman and she does a pretty decent job. The only problem is that she isn't in many scenes so its kind of hard to judge her, but the scenes shes in are good. Overall, I thought the cast was good in every way. I really enjoyed every ones performances and thought they did a good job in their roles.

The visual look of In Good Company is kind of a mixed bag. Being now only 4 years old, the movies source seems clean to me. The movie definitely has that look where it makes you think it was filmed yesterday or something. I wasn't able to detect any film grain, but I could be wrong on this one. Colors seem alittle muted, but I think that's the way director chose to shot the film. The only problem with this DVD version of In Good Company is the damn edge enhancements. This tries to make the film more detailed and sharp. This sometimes works with old films, but if its applied too much, it becomes very visible and ugly. Now I have seen other film that had edge enhancements on them, but this is probably the worst of them. Its really a shame because this is a wonderful film that I would have loved to see in great condition. Now the movie doesn't look bad as in its unwatchable, but it doesn't look as good as it could have been.

The soundtrack in In Good Company is pretty great. The music is composed by Damien Rice and Stephen Trask. I wasn't able to notice a score that the movie has for its self, but it does contain many other music that sound wonderful all together. I wasn't expecting the music in this movie to be good or go with the movie, but I was really happy that it does. Its mostly a mixture between some rock and some melody's. A movie like this is not the right choice to demo your bass. Its not going to blow your socks off with its bass because it hardly has any. A film like this isn't meant to have a full blown bass system like Cloverfield so I cant say I'm disappointed. The film does have some clean dialogue which is a good thing since this is a heavily dialogue film.

In Good Company is a wonderful film that I actually enjoyed. Its one of those films that you keep in your DVD collection and watch it when you feel like it. The story is smart and interesting although I wish their was an alternative ending filmed so I could compare which one I like. The cast is good with everyone fitting their roles nicely and giving enjoyable performances. The visual look of the movie is pretty good, but is plagued with edge enhancements that are very noticeable to some degree. The soundtrack doesn't contain any score for the movie, but it does have alot of songs that go well with the movies story. I walked into this movie expecting nothing much, but I found it to be surprisingly good. I enjoyed it very much and will stay close to my collection. I recommend this movie to those who are interested in these types of movies or those who have a day off and is willing to give this a try.

Grade: B-

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