Carter Duryea (Topher Grace), at first glance, seems to be one of
those annoying, soulless yuppies who seem to exist solely to sleaze their way
up the corporate ladder. When the company he works for buys out a publishing
firm, he's promoted to the position of advertising sales manager at the firm's
flagship publication, Sports America magazine. Of course, it doesn't matter
that he has no experience in that realm of business. He works for the new owners
and so, in today's business world, that's enough qualification for him to be
responsible for the hiring and firing of people who've got a lifetime's worth
of experience in that field. People like Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid), the former
ad sales manager, who now finds himself with a boss half his age with no experience
in the field.
Good Company (2004)
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, and
In the world of corporate thinking,
Dan is a liablilty. He's old, set in his ways, and has a large salary. Carter
is flexible, cunning, and aspires to be
like Teddy K. (Malcolm McDowell), the Rupert Murdoch-like boss for whom they
now both work. Carter smartly decides to keep Dan as a "wingman".
Dan is thankful to keep his job as he's got a family to support, including
a baby on the way. Carter does, however, have to pair down the sales team at
Sports America and begins firing Dan's former teammates to meet that ever-present
Carter, however, isn't exactly the soulless yuppie he might seem to be. When
his marriage goes sour, he finds himself alone and with no friends. His co-workers
at Sports America dispise him. After a team meeting, Carter manages to invite
himself to Dan's house for dinner. There, he meets Dan's college-age daughter,
Alex (Scarlett Johanssen), who brings out the honesty in him. They really hit
it off, and a romance blossoms, but they keep the relationship a secret from
her father for obvious reasons.
Carter and Alex's ruse is short-lived when Dan discovers them together at
a restaurant and confronts them. Seeing his daughter with the man who demoted
him demoralizes Dan but gives him the courage to say what's on his mind, rather
than continuing to tow the corporate line. So, when Teddy K. makes a speech
to rally the troops at Sports America, Dan confronts him with some straight-to-the-point
questions about the thinking behind the corporate mentality. This puts Dan
and Carter on the hotseat and they have to put aside their differences to save
Good Company is much better than
I thought it could possibly be. Thankfully, it gives the characters some
shades of grey in what I believed would be a very
black and white "good guy vs. bad company" movie. In a rather hamfisted
way, it does ask a lot of questions about the sanity of the world we live in
where the same company that makes our breakfast cereal also manufactures cell
phones and publishes magazines.
Dennis Quaid plays Dan as a very likeable family guy. He's a perfect actor
for this type of role, which isn't too far away from his work in The Rookie,
which also showed that age alone doesn't define your ability to do a good job.
Topher Grace plays both sides of Carter Duryea well. He's likeable and loathsome
at the same time, which is quite a feat in my opinion.
Good Company's got a little comedy, a little romance and a little drama
and provides solid, if ultimately forgettable, entertainment.
from the movie were filmed at New York University's freshman dorm, Hayden
Hall. (Source: The
Internet Movie Database)