In Good Company (PG)
Time Out says‘I’m the new ninja assassin!’ screams Topher Grace’s 26-year-old whizz-kid Carter, enacting ridiculous shadow swipes in the crowded headquarters concourse of Malcolm McDowell’s mighty Globecom conglomerate. So is this kid to be the new blade swathing through the long-term staffers at his boss’s new acquisition, Sports America? Writer-director Weitz’s ‘corporate comedy’ is careful to reserve judgment on Carter’s disarming mix of chutzpah and vulnerability, ruthlessness and sensitivity; the costume dept kit him out with a Pee-Wee Herman-esque gaucheness; our sympathy for him shamelessly ramped up by giving him a cold wife on the point of desertion. But still, adding to the enigma, Carter is unconcerned demoting the formidable head of advertising, Dan Foreman – a paragon of fairness and family values, convincingly, easefully played by Dennis Quaid, to whom Carter is attracted – and has the chutzpah to simultaneously woo the apple of Quaid’s eye, his attractive daughter Alex (Scarlett Johansson). Can he have it all?
Some film’s failings or other film’s saving graces. Okay, there’s a predictable soft velvet fist inside this film’s seeming steely glove. The conventional (but often effective) first half – a cynical Wilder-esque depiction of the acrid fear and insecurity of the modern corporate take-over – is abandoned for a romantic second half which is predicated on the kind of idealistic notions of personal transformation that sustained the wooziest romantic fantasies of the ‘60s. But Weisz redeems himself in a number of ways – encouraging delicate performances from Grace and Johansson in their sweet love-affair; suggesting states of suspended animation with his insanely leisurely editing, for instance – suggesting a fruitful sentimental education since his days directing ‘American Pie’ and ‘About a Boy’.