Death by cheese

By Celeste Meiffren
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, January 20, 2005

Anyone who likes Topher Grace should be shot. He's a no talent ass-clown who found his way into Hollywood because of his boyish good looks and his phony charm. I've had it up to here (hand to top of head) with him.

"In Good Company" only solidified what "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton" assumed: Put Topher Grace in a movie if you want the Tiger Beat dollar.

Even though "In Good Company" is actually targeted to a whole slew of audiences, this is not Grace's doing. The only way to lure more of an audience than the preteen idol worshippers would be to do two major things.

One, you must put a middle-aged sex magnet as leading man number two. Apparently director Paul Weitz could not book George Clooney, David Bowie or Sting, so he went with the next obvious choice: Dennis Quaid.

In Good Company

3 out of 10

he next thing a filmmaker must do to get a wide audience is to play Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" in the trailer. It's the equivalent of putting the

"Feel Good" stamp on any film. The "Feel Good" stamp is like an STD for a college student audience - no one except the truly curious will touch it.

Once there are a variety of asses in the proverbial seats, "In Good Company" delivers a brutally sappy tale of love, life and redemption. It's like being beaten with maple syrup: long, slow and sticky.

Grace plays Carter Duryea, a fresh-faced 26-year-old advertising minion who is looking to move up the corporate ladder. During a corporate merger, he is given a promotion and replaces established ad minion Dan Foreman, played by Quaid.

But all is not grand in the life of Duryea, since his impending divorce and overwhelming loneliness overshadow his promotion. He seeks friendship with Foreman and invites himself over for dinner with Foreman's family. It is here he meets Foreman's daughter, Alex, played by Scarlett Johansson.

Duryea begins secretly dating Alex. This relationship has very little development in the film and feels like a contrived storyline to make it seem like a romantic comedy. It has no real meaning or importance to the story.

It becomes apparent that Duryea wants more than what the corporate world is offering him. He wants his life to be full of happiness and love. And everyone knows corporate America (especially advertising) is too cutthroat for anyone with a soul. Or so "In Good Company" would have us believe.

There is definitely potential for a good movie. The writing is fairly decent but is destroyed by the over-the-top acting. At times it teeters between poignant and vomit-in-your-mouth sappy. Though more often than not, it is the latter.

The movie itself is overshadowed by its cleverly mixed soundtrack with the likes of Damien Rice, Iron and Wine, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Peter Gabriel and (gasp!) The Shins. It successfully propels the movie forward and gives the audience a sense of the film that the script and actors just couldn't provide.

"In Good Company" could have been superb. Unfortunately, it was cast wrong, acted poorly and fell short of expectations.