In Good Company
Brothers Chris and Paul Weitz (American Pie, About a Boy) have returned to the messy business of men’s coming of age with this window on the few months in which two men’s lives—one entering, one exiting mid-adulthood—travel in parallel orbit. Established sales executive Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) takes a gut shot when a near-fetal yuppie named Carter Duryea (Topher Grace) becomes his new boss. Duryea, a glib collection of tics and buzzwords rattling around inside an expensive suit, rankles Foreman to no end, but when Foreman inadvertently invites him home to meet his family he gains some sympathy for the lost boy—a sympathy that evaporates quickly when Foreman discovers his beloved daughter (Scarlett Johansson) and Duryea are “involved.” The characters are a little too pat, and forced to mouth the most obvious exposition, but the skilled cast spackle in the cracks with real emotion. Quaid has the uncanny ability to beam goodwill with the lower half of his face and telegraph menace with the top half. Grace conveys a venal soullessness beneath a sleepy-eyed baby face, and Johansson can snap the tail of a benign line of dialogue so it eviscerates. A weird, anti-corporate polemic shoehorned onto what was shaping up as a tight-quarters human drama betrays the filmmaker’s immaturity, and the film’s conclusion is too deus ex machina to be believed.