Tuesday, December 4, 2007

In Good Company – a positive movie review by Steve & Lisa

I just saw a fantastic movie last night, starring Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, and Scarlett Johannsen. I’d picked it up from the library thinking it looked like a light-hearted comedy that may or may not be great. I was very pleasantly surprised. I’d consider it one of my top recent movies, in the genre of drama/comedy.

Quaid plays Dan Foreman, a middle-aged father, husband, and top ad-salesman for a sports magazine. He’s been in his company for 23 years when a global corporation buys it and changes loom large. Foreman is demoted and placed under the new leadership of Carter Duryea (Grace) who is half his age and has no experience with ad sales. As if this isn’t difficult enough, Foreman eventually discovers that his daughter Alex (who has just moved to the city to study at NYU) has begun dating Duryea, leading to a major confrontation between the two men.

While a child’s coming of age is a theme that runs through many storylines, it’s not common these days for a movie to portray the father figure as positively as this one does. Foreman accuses Duryea of taking advantage of his daughter by sleeping with her, and while Alex was actually the one who seduced Duryea, Foreman is right to challenge the man to take responsibility for his actions. Duryea, who had no father growing up, sees the wisdom in Foreman’s words, though he takes some knocks (literally) along the way. For her part, Alex realizes that she is too young to commit to a relationship, and asks her father to forgive her for concealing their relationship from him. Alex and Duryea never do get back together, a situation that adds a bit of realism to the plot.

The movie also explores the tension between the development of impersonal global, multi-media corporations, and businesses that emphasize person-to-person relationships. Duryea finds his way to the top through one of these corporate acquisitions, and he at first tries to lead through flashy promises of ‘synergy’ with companies that have nothing to do with sports magazines but that are part of this new global corporation. Yet Duryea comes to value Foreman’s belief that good business is fundamentally about building relationships through trust and dependability. When his bosses pressure him to get rid of the ‘old guard,’ Duryea decides integrity and experience really count for something and sides with Foreman.

In Good Company may or may not be right to portray global corporations as badly as it does. But it does put the lie to the idea that business will never be the same, thanks to globalization. While technology may change, bringing people across the globe into contact, business still depends on good work ethics that produce good results and lead to happy clients. And the same holds true for family relationships. Honesty and transparency is always better than deceit. Is it any wonder that this movie gets two thumbs up?

(For those who care about particular "offenses" in movies, this show does have a little bit of bad language, uses Christ's name in vain, has one reference to homosexuality, and has an implied premarital sex scene. These obviously didn't in any way ruin it for us, but wanted you to know...)

1 comment:

Saralynn said...

I saw that on the plane once! I really liked it, too, although I kind of forgot about it later...Thanks for the review!