Prayer Focus
Movie Review

In Good Company

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some sexual content and drug references

Reviewed by: Jonathan Rodriguez

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Comedy, Drama
1 hr. 49 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
Jan. 15, 2005 (wide)
Featuring: Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson, Selma Blair, Clark Gregg
Director: Paul Weitz
Producer: Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz
Distributor: Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Copyright, Universal Pictures
Relevant Issues

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

Relationship issues
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.

Corporate takeover puts middle-aged ad executive Dan Forman in a tough spot in “In Good Company,” the new film from director Paul Weitz (“About a Boy”). Dennis Quaid plays Foreman, a man who seems to have everything going his way at home and at work. He is a successful ad executive with a great office, great employees, and a great home life. At the beginning of the film, he finds a pregnancy test box in the trash can. He assumes it belongs to his college age daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson) and questions her about it. He is not some nosy, overprotective father; he simply loves his daughter and doesn’t like the idea of her keeping things from him. It turns out the test doesn’t belong to her, but to his wife Ann (Marg Helgenberger).

At the same time, his company is being bought out by a Murdochian media mogul, Teddy K (Malcolm McDowell). Teddy sends in a young businessman named Carter Duryea (Topher Grace) to be the company’s new ad exec. Carter doesn’t really have a clue how to run things; everything he has learned, his mantra, has come from his listening to the great Teddy K. Layoffs ensue, but the wise Carter decides to leave Dan on staff, because, well, Dan has all the ideas. Carter is a workaholic in the process of getting a divorce, and leaches on to Dan for some semblance of normalcy.

Dan inadvertently invites Carter for dinner, to which Carter is more than happy to come. It is at the house that he meets Alex, who he has run into before but never gotten the chance to talk to. The two hit it off, and begin a sweet relationship that is kept secret because of the awkward circumstances.

“In Good Company” makes us feel good from the start. Dennis Quaid again proves to be an actor the rest of us can relate to, and his Dan is an everyman who experiences real-life emotions and problems. Weitz has created characters and given them dialogue that don’t seem far fetched, and puts them in the real world we don’t often see in films. Topher Grace is fine as the business kid in over his head, but who is determined to do what needs to be done, for the synergy of the company. Scarlett Johansson is great as the daughter who loves her father, but proceeds with the relationship without much thought of how it would affect him.

The film contains profanity, but fortunately does a decent job of staying away from the big ones. A few G*d-words are heard, and a handful of various lesser words. There isn’t much sexual content, at least on screen. Carter and Alex go up to her dorm room, where Alex adjusts the lighting and turns on music to set the mood, where it is then implied that they slept together. It is the only scene that really caused concern for me. The Bible makes its stance on sexual relationships outside of marriage very clear, but the scene itself feels forced. I didn’t buy how it played out, and it seemed to be thrown in to set up events later in the film.

Other than that, Johansson and Grace have great chemistry in the film. Again, the only scene where it doesn’t ring true is in her dorm room. It’s a shame that Weitz felt the need to throw it in.

“In Good Company” leaves us feeling good, and refreshed for having seen it. This is a great time of year for films, with all the good stuff out, vying for the awards; the only downside is that a lot of them leave us feeling, well… down. Weitz has given us something real: the humor is real, the characters are real, and the situations are real. If you are expecting something by the book and sub par, be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See our interview with the writer/director of this film, Paul Weitz.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—I saw this movie with my husband. it was our first night out in months, and there seemed to be very little that we were in the mood to see. We went to “In Good Company” with fairly low expectations. It looked, in the trailer, to be a film that could keep us entertained, inspire us to laugh a bit and have us leaving feeling lighthearted. It was QUITE different for us. Both my husband and I did not expect the underlying depth in the story. We were both very touched by its message, the encouragement. It was a non-typical Hollywood-type story, which we found very refreshing. It was lighthearted most of the time, and funny here and there. Mostly, we found we could identify with parts of it. It fits in the genre of comedy/comedy romance but surprisingly meets more then just that. The language is pretty loose, but that was the biggest negative. This movie touches on so many things, it could be very personal to many different types of people. I recommend this film to older teens and adults… men and women alike. It may appear to be a “chick flick,” but I found my husband really connecting with it as well.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
Misty Wagner, age 28
Neutral—Because of the seriousness of both positive and negative issues, I am neutral in my opinion of “In Good Company.” Some will enjoy this movie while others will detest it.

There are about five settings of sexually intimacy. One is the dorm scene where sex is implied. The others are of married couples in bed with varying degrees of intimacy, or lack of it, with no sex shown and mostly dressed in long nightclothes. Homosexuality is referred to twice. Carter and Alex have a brief discussion about whether she is a lesbian or not. When she says she isn’t, Carter replies, “Good.” He then backtracks to say he isn’t opposed to lesbians, but he is glad she isn’t one. Later, when Dan and Carter are getting ready to play basketball, Carter defends Dan to his boss. Carter’s boss replies, “Maybe you two should go get a room.” There is other sexual dialogue as well. One time when Dan is telling Carter how to have a good marriage, the older tells the younger, “Remember to keep your d*** in your pants,” in reference to staying sexually faithful to his wife. There are also several other references to men’s genitals.

Carter realizes he and Alex are making a bad choice about getting ready to have sex in her dorm room. He blames his inability to do the right thing because they had too much to drink. Alcohol is rebuked here, but is also an inappropriate excuse to have sex. Later, Dan punches Carter for having sex with his daughter. Both Alex and Carter partly repent, and break off the relationship.

Dan cares about his family, and for the most part, is a positive example of being a good husband, father and businessperson throughout the movie. Dan is a mentor to Carter, and becomes the father figure his younger boss never had. In the end, Carter wants to make the right choices for the right reasons, and changes his lifestyle accordingly.
My Ratings: [Average/3½]
—Bob Rossiter, age 44
Negative—This movie is what I would term a “generic production” movie. There are no special effects and the story is really not too out of the ordinary. I’d also call the film a wait for the DVD movie. You might enjoy it in bed at home but don’t waste your time going to the theater.
My Ratings: [Average/2]
—Bob C, age 41
Positive—I found this movie to be one of the best I have seen in a long time. The thing that really made me happy was right in the beginning a man says that Topher Grace’s presentation was “pfg.” When asked what that means, Grace’s character responds, “pretty freaking good.” Maybe I am easy to please, but I was really worried they were about to muck up the movie with the most vulgar word, and they took a cleaner route. I understand everyone’s problem with the daughter and the boss sleeping together, but that is the world we live in. The fact that it was COMPLETELY clean should say something about the director not making it inappropriate. The sex is not even glorified since it breaks her father’s heart and there relationship does not last. If anything, it shows how much better it would have been had they not had sex.

My point is that the Bible has stories of pre-marital sex, adultery, murder, and the like. If we allow it to happen in the Bible, we shouldn’t be all up in arms when it is done tastefully in a movie without applauding the sin. Furthermore, this was a wonderful movie, and even as a 20 year old male, I was touched by it. Dennis Quaid does a remarkable job in it and I think we will be seeing a lot more of Topher Grace over the years. Thank God, because at least it’s not Ashton Kutcher!
My Ratings: [Average/4½]
—Andrew, age 20
Negative—My wife and I saw the movie… It started off good, to get you hooked, then they started to ruin the movie. By that I mean they took God’s name in vain twice, one of the new bosses plays a real hard guy, and he starts using vulgar words and the thing that ruined the movie the most is when the daughter seduces the new young boss to sleep with her in her new dorm room at NYU. They don’t show anything; the point is they just make it seem like one night stands are the thing to do. Overall, this movie is another reason it will be another 1-2 years before I go back to the theater.
My Ratings: [Average/1½]
—Erick Frank, age 27
Negative—I really liked this movie, everyone in it was good but I give it a negative rating because they took the Lord’s name in vain and that is never acceptable to me. The daughter also seduces the boss.It would have been just as good (better) and they could have said the same thing without putting that in. So many movies do that now with a PG-13 rating. Is it okay for a 14 yr old to hear this? Never.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/3]
—Linda Mize, age 45
Negative—My husband and I took our “almost 13” daughter and a friend of hers to view this movie. We have always trusted this site to guide us in making good movie choices. This was one we wished we hadn’t seen. We were very disappointed in the amount of profanity, as well as the sexual overtones that implied sex outside of marriage is perfectly fine. Guess we need to revert back to only watching movies rated PG and below.
My Ratings: [Average/2]
—Julia Matthews, age 36
Positive—[Non-Christian] The movie was well put together and while I have a hard time believing that 26 year old can become the divisional VP (I have worked at progressive companies and this is never the case), I think the movie is decent and allows the protagonist (a good choice for Topher Grace) to make a moral decision at the end of the movie.

I also take objection to those who cannot look past the language and implied sex. The bad language and implied sex did not bother me because we all are not perfect (to imply that we are is a fallacy of man), but the lesson taught is what makes the movie moral. What lessons are there to be taught if everyone in the movie is a saint? The people who curse are fired at the end, those with good moral character keep their job, the sexual relationship between the characters causes the woman to have regrets and end their relationships and the main character realizes that money and power are not key to life. How can this not be a moral movie?
My Ratings: [3]
—casualsuede, age 32

Comments from young people
Positive—This movie was great. I have to say that all around, they did well. The plot was good, the jokes weren’t crude, and the family has a mom and a dad who are very caring about their family. There is a one night stand included in the movie, I don’t understand why they had to go and do that. The language was the reason it was rated PG-13 and there is definitely PG-13 language in it. I’m bummed that they did that also. The message is good, the ending is delightful and the acting was great. This isn’t a family movie and I wouldn’t suggest that anyone under 16 go to see it. I enjoyed it and loved being able to laugh at things that were really funny, not crude.
My Ratings: [Better than Average/4]
—Jackie Barnes, age 16
Neutral—I watched this movie with my family recently, thinking it was going to be a good family comedy. Although we were mistaken, it was still an okay movie. I know my parents should have paid attention to the PG-13 rating, but still, do not let anyone under at least 14 to see this movie. There was a lot of language, including the f-word (once), plus there are some sexual references, one scene of rear nudity, and implied sex. I personally thought the movie was a bit boring, but it still had a pretty good moral and story. I’m not sure I would recommend this film, but parents, be wary!
My Ratings: [Offensive/3]
—Benjamin Layman, age 12
Movie Critics
…A tart and timely comedy… reinvents the midlife-crisis comedy… the perfect comedy for this topsy-turvy age of bottom-lining and pup-eat-dog…
—Jan Stuart, Newsday
…a consistently funny comedy about business ethics that cuts fairly deep for a mainstream Hollywood comedy…
—Lou Lumenick, New York Post
…a strong message about fathers and mentors, and focuses on what it means to be a dad under challenging circumstances…
—Annabelle Robertson, Crosswalk
…sublime, sentimental comedy… The film… belongs to Quaid, masterful in his comic timing, reaction shots and scenes of physical comedy. It’s one of the year’s great acting turns…
—Glenn Whipp, L.A. Daily News
…The comic spirit in this type of picture is wonderfully democratic, and so is the result. Out goes the lowest common denominator, in comes the broadest…
—Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
…a little too goodhearted and prone to situation comedy to hit the comic bull’s-eye…
—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter