In Good Company is Mike Nichols' The Graduate pulled inside out. Newcomer Topher Grace stars as a twentysomething go-getter climbing the corporate ladder with such dizzying speed that life - in the voluptuous shape of Scarlett Johansson - threatens to pass him by. Dennis Quaid plays Johansson's father, especially disapproving of the romance since Grace also happens to be his new boss. It sounds crass, but this is actually a warm and witty comedy brimming with sharp insights.
Writer/director Paul Weitz delivers an unusual but compelling hero in Carter Duryea (Topher Grace), who has all the trappings of middle-aged manhood but has yet to come of age emotionally. A star in the making, Grace boasts a wry charm offset by moments of self-effacing humour eg donning cool sunglasses to drive his new Porsche only to crash it while exiting the dealership. He and Johansson make a sophisticated couple, but the real chemistry is between Grace and Quaid's character Dan - the battle-hardened veteran who balks at playing "wingman" for a boss barely old enough to shave.
"BRACINGLY HONEST STORYTELLING"
Their complex relationship is defined by a funny sequence where Carter invites himself to dinner and they struggle to relate in the informal atmosphere. "You kids come in for dinner now!" calls Dan, as Carter plays table football with his daughter, wincing just as soon as he's said it. Here, Weitz is at his best, using comedy to cut through facades. Annoyingly though, he opts for a slick, conventional finale that jars with otherwise bracingly honest storytelling. That aside, In Good Company is the work of a filmmaker at the top of his game.