Scarlett Johansson continues her trend, Dennis Quaid proves once again he still has something left in him and Topher Grace steps up to the plate in a big way, showing why he, and not Ashton Kutcher, is the star of "That 70's Show."
Grace stars as Carter Duryea, a young, 26-year old ad executive who has been brought into a struggling department to mix things up. Unfortunately, everyone, including Dan Foreman (Quaid), the man who was demoted to make room for him, is about twice his age and he doesn't know what he's doing. As the layoffs mount and the corporate bickering continue, Dan and Carter strike up an awkward relationship... but Carter has also begun to see Dan's college-aged daughter, Alex (Johansson).
"In Good Company" was originally titled "Synergy," and the movie works because the actors work well together. Quaid and Grace play well off one another, both delivering intentionally awkward and well-timed one-liners that really don't seem like one-liners at all. Their chemistry on screen is perfect, as Grace plays that annoying, overly excited kid and Quaid is the mature, wise man - only their power of authority has been switched to make for the most uncomfortable of situations. Quaid is the finest he's been in year, which makes up for a string of duds that includes "The Alamo" and "Cold Creek Manor." Grace, who has more to prove, is sensational, perhaps not all that much different from his character on "That 70's Show," but good nonetheless. It's been bothersome that Ashton Kutcher has received all the attention the last few years when Grace has been far and away the best talent on that show. And, unlike Kutcher, he has a top notch movie under his belt.
The chemistry between Grace and Johansson is also sizzling, which makes for a nice romantic subplot. Don't be fooled, though; romance is not the focus of "In Good Company." The relationship between Grace and Quaid is more important, as are the things they go through. There is a significant romantic element to be seen here, but women looking for a simple, sugarcoated romantic comedy should look elsewhere.
That being said, "In Good Company" is pretty funny. It's not hilarious from beginning to end, but it has plenty of jokes to go around. The beginning and ending are a little weak in the comedy department, and the ending is definitely drawn out a bit regardless of what you're looking for, but the good-sized chunk in the middle is concretely entertaining. On top of everything else, the movie is more than just a comedy; it does not rely on cheap antics or hardwired jokes to please the audience. "In Good Company" is very realistic and moving; it just happens to be very funny at the same time.
There are parts where "In Good Company" could have been improved, but the flaws are minor and take little away from the overall experience. It's a good comedy and also provides three very good performances, especially from Quaid and Grace.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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