In Good Company [2004]

Nowadays it's rare to find a movie that pays attention to human weakness as well as strength, and that sees a whole person as having both. When a sports magazine gets bought by a media conglomerate, an ad sales executive named Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid, The Rookie) finds himself playing second-in-command to Carter Duryea, a hotshot barely half his age (Topher Grace, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!) whose marriage has just fallen apart. One evening Carter invites himself over to Dan's house to escape his loneliness, where he meets Dan's daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson, Lost in Translation). The two strike immediate sparks and when they run into each other later in the city, a relationship begins--which they discreetly keep from Dan. But the heart of the movie is not in its plot, but in the way that Dan responds to the news that his wife is pregnant, or how Carter tries to fortify his self-image with a new car. These aren't jokes; the actors inhabit these moments fully and turn them into psychological events. Quaid plays Dan as a simple man, but his straightforwardness feels genuine (rather than a failure of the writer's imagination). Grace and Johansson have terrific chemistry as lovers, but so do Grace and Quaid, both as rivals and as a substitute father and son. In Good Company isn't likely to win any awards, but it's honest and honorable; there's a core of truth to its characters and their problems aren't resolved too neatly. Sometimes, that's worth watching. --Bret Fetzer

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