In Good Company is a 2004 film from the director of About a Boy. It tells the story of Dan Foreman, an experienced 50 something head of an ad agency. His comfortable and familiar world is torn apart when a young executive impresses and is promoted to the job Dan held, despite the agency having its best period in 20 years. That young man is Carter Duryea, played by Topher Grace. Upon his arrival, he tries his best not to upset the balance, attempting to befriend Dan and his family. Corporate politics force his hand into firing people for profit balancing. Eventually he invites himself over to the house of Dan for dinner and meets his daughter, Alex. Alex is the one who sees something different in him and Carter begins to change. The rest of the movie concerns Carter, Dan and their shaky friendship, teetering on the knowledge that he is dating Alex. Along with a top corporate visit and more lay-offs, Carter is on shaky ground, vying for success and loyalty at the same precarious time.
The movie is billed as a romantic comedy, but as the relationship does not begin until well into the film, it seems like more of a drama, especially with the aspect of his wife. Interestingly, the film was originally titled Synergy until it was revealed that 9 out of 10 test goers did not know the meaning of the word.
Because of the revealed nature of the film, it gets by mostly due to its performances. The actors believe in their roles and bring them to life. Dennis Quaid could have played a character similar to Peter Finch in Network, merely for laughs and rage at his misfortune, but the movie decides to have him begrudgingly accept the sudden changes to his life and try to make the best of his situation, both involving his wife and his daughter. Even the inevitable confrontation scene with Carter is played as more of concern on Dans part for Alex than anger at his boss dating his daughter. This one gets big applause for avoidance of the usual film cliches.
When compared to other romantic comedies, I found that In Good Company earned its place somewhere in the middle of the worst and best comedies. The plot tries to connect us to the corporate world of today, but fails somewhat as this corporate world does not seem all too real. The biggest strength is the characters, all whom are played convincingly by a few quality actors. Had it not been for the characters, this one would have been rather dull. Instead, we get a fairly entertaining above average romantic film.
Presented in 1080p, VC-1 Encoded, 1:85:1 Widescreen Aspect Ratio, In Good Company contains a transfer that certainly captures the film, but lacks the overall oomph we expect from Hi-Def.
Color usage, for the most part, contained rather bright colors (whites and sky blues). The whole film had a very soft, romantic feel to it, which I suppose was fine considering the target audience. Grain was not too noticeable (I only noticed a tad bit during the outside sequence between Carter and Alex). EE, on the other hand, was a bit more noticeable (probably because of the use of brighter sequences). On the short side, this was a fine transfer for the material, but was nothing more than just okay.
Presented in the standard Dolby Digital Plus 5.1, In Good Company is the type of film that does not need to sound amazing as the material in front of us just is not that amazing.
Dialogue was simple and effective, only becoming somewhat muddled in a few sequences. Dynamic Range, as we might expect from a comedy, was pretty much absent with only a few example of any real discrete effects (I only noticed a few when Carter revs up his Porsche). Surround usage suffered a similar fate with no real instance of any of the rears going into overtime. I suppose we should come expect much from the audio here, but comedy films can and should give us that atmosphere. While In Good Company sounds fine for the material, the overall presentation is just okay.
- Deleted scenes: Here we get a few deleted scenes, most of which are interesting enough. I expect many will not re-watch them as they do not add anything really substantial to the plot.
- Real Life: This feature shows us the difference between the real corporate world and the corporate world shown in the film.
- Audio Commentary with Topher Grace and director Paul Weitz: Considering that I only thought the film was above average at best, I did not find myself overly impressed with this commentary. Neither Grace or Weitz, surprisingly I might add, ever had anything insightful to say. The standard material is covered, but instead never becomes interesting.
In Good Company was an above average movie with likable characters and an interesting story about life and defining moments. The actors are enjoyable and the humor, while rare, is appreciated. This HD release is above average as well with decent video and audio and a few features fans will enjoy. Fans will want to pick this one up, but most of you would be safe with a rental.