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IN GOOD COMPANY

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson
Director: Paul Weitz
Rated: PG

THE posters for In Good Company highlight that it is from the director of About a Boy.

They do not even hint at what is true, from the director of American Pie.

Perhaps with American Pie and its box office success, brothers Paul and Chris Weitz got their puberty blues out of their system and moved on to mid-life. This is definitely where they are with In Good Company. This is a film that offers a chance and hope to the 50 year-old and reminds the 20-something hotshot that verve isn’t everything, that experience counts for something. Not what you would expect from American Pie!

This is a very positive film. It raises the issues of redundancy in a cut-throat globalising world.

Malcolm McDowell (who can look sinister at the best of times and here is lit to look like evil capitalism incarnate) is a tycoon who has acquired the magazine Sports America.

Dennis Quaid (whose character is 52) has been head of advertising for years and has built up a loyal staff.

Topher Grace (whose character is 26) takes over with orders from on high to trim staff, cut salaries and get more contracts. His marriage has quickly foundered and he is a workaholic. He is now Quaid’s boss.

This is a film which can be described as conservative in a positive sense. Progress does not lead to Utopia. Moving in and out of commitment does not always lead to happiness.

Long marriages and deep commitment are possible. Dealing with people in the workplace as people and with respect is humane as well as a means of achieving goals. The old are not always over the hill and the young do not have all the answers.

Dennis Quaid is quite persuasive as the husband, father, boss. Topher Grace is on the way to stardom.

Scarlett Johansson gives a quiet performance as the elder daughter and Marg Helgenberger has taken time off from CSI investigations to play a mother role.

It is not a particularly startling film, but its themes are refreshing.

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