In Good Company (2004)

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Released 10-Aug-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Audio Commentary-Paul Weitz (Director) And Topher Grace (Actor)
Featurette-Stars
Featurette-Youth
Featurette-Getting Older
Featurette-Real Life
Featurette-New York Locations
Featurette-Editing
Featurette-Story
Deleted Scenes-With Optional Commentary
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 105:15
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (69:20) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Paul Weitz
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Dennis Quaid
Topher Grace
Scarlett Johansson
Marg Helgenberger
David Paymer
Clark Gregg
Philip Baker Hall
Selma Blair
Frankie Faison
Ty Burrell
Kevin Chapman
Amy Aquino
Zena Grey
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music David Byrne
Peter Gabriel
Damien Rice


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English dts 5.1 (768Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Anyone who has been the victim of a down-size, a merger, a takeover, an acquisition or a major corporate restructure will find something to laugh at and at the same time be strangely comforted by in this romantic comedy from director Paul Weitz. The man responsible for American Pie and the hugely underrated About A Boy has again crafted a film that contains much more depth than is revealed at first glance. In Good Company (interestingly originally had the working title 'Synergy' - more on that later) will strike a chord for many caught up in the everyday machinations of a major conglomerate, where people and personal lives matter much less than profit and the bottom line.

    In a role that fits him like a glove, Dennis Quaid is Dan Foreman, an early fifty-something vice president of advertising sales with Sports America magazine. Dan has been in the ad game for a long time and knows the business inside out. But Dan's world is about to be chewed up and spat out - on both a professional and personal level. Dan learns the company he works for has been swallowed by a multi-national and his much-loved magazine is to be taken over. No sooner has the ink dried on the merger deal, and in what is a major blow to his ego, Dan is demoted to make way for his new boss ("assigned to special projects" is the term I've heard used in the past for this sort of restructure). To make Dan's day go from bad to worse, he learns his new boss is a young hot shot with basically no ad experience. At just 26, Carter Duryea (Topher Grace from That 70s Show) is half Dan's age and virtually stumbles and bumbles into the job on his first day, all while moving his things into Dan's old office and soaking up the view.

    But if you think Dan's star is rapidly falling, don't be fooled into instantly thinking that Carter's is on the rise. The new vice president may have impressed the new owners of the magazine, but his personal life is falling apart. When his young wife leaves him, Carter throws himself into his work and clings on to anyone at the office willing to listen to his troubles. When Dan half-jokingly invites him to his home for dinner, Carter jumps at the offer. It is here that Carter meets Dan's oldest daughter, the lovely Alex (the extra lovely Scarlett Johansson), who is about to start university. Despite being on the rebound and carrying a whole lot of emotional baggage, Carter is instantly attracted to the gorgeous Alex and amazingly she responds in kind. Just wait until Dan finds out that his new boss is also dating his daughter! The fireworks should be about to fly - especially when Carter keeps referring to Dan as his new wingman!

    This film is a real gem that connects on many different levels. Rather than just a one-dimensional set of romantic-comedy characters going through the motions, Weitz has crafted a script that offers plenty of comedy, drama, romance and just a little dose of topical ethical issues to ponder. Anyone who has been the victim of a corporate takeover will find something much more in this than a boy-meets-girl tale. And the effortless ease with which the director handles all of these elements and the cast play off each other to perfection will provide a great night's entertainment.

    As someone who once had the same job for five years, doing exactly the same duties at exactly the same desk, but working for four different companies, this is easily one of my favourite films of the year so far and comes highly recommended.

    Update 2 August 2007 - Would you believe the company I was working for has just gone through the process of a major restructure (another one) and disaggregation into four businesses. And the name of the business that I'm now working for is . . . SYNERGY!

    I just love a good dose of coincidence!

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Transfer Quality

Video

    A recent film gets a decent transfer as is expected these days.

    The transfer is presented in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. There is also automatic pan & scan encoding present, so make sure you have your DVD player set to display in 4:3 letterbox or 16:9 enhanced if you wish to view the film in its original aspect ratio.

    The transfer is sharp and free of all but the most minor edge enhancement. Excessive grain is absent and shadow detail is impeccable with deep blacks and no loss of detail. There is no low level noise present.

    Colours are well rendered and show a wide palette, though it is not perhaps as vibrant as I remembered at the cinema.

    I noticed no MPEG artefacts and film-to-video problems were also absent. Film artefacts were also absent.

    There is just one subtitle stream present, this being English for the hearing impaired. I sampled them extensively and noticed no serious errors or omissions.

    This is a dual layered RSDL formatted disc, with the layer change occurring at 69:20.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    This disc gets three soundtracks, with an all-too-rare dts soundtrack included in the package. Joining the dts is a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack for the film and a Dolby Digital 2.0 commentary soundtrack as an extra.

    The English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is encoded at a bitrate of 448 Kb/s and the dts soundtrack is encoded at the lower bitrate of 768 Kb/s. I listened to both soundtracks back-to-back and did a couple of direct comparisons. This isn't the type of film that will show up big differences between the dts and Dolby Digital soundtracks, though both are extremely high-quality tracks and neither will disappoint. Both offer lots of separation, a clean and precise range and some well defined panning effects, despite the majority of the film featuring significant dialogue. These are both modern soundtracks that really make the music used in the film shine.

    The mentioned dialogue levels are excellent and there are no audio sync problems.

    There is actually no credited score but this does not mean the film is devoid of music. Among a dozen or so songs used throughout the film there are a couple of notable inclusions that set the film off nicely. The opening track is the whimsical Glass, Concrete and Stone by David Byrne which has a superb catch to it that sets up the whole film to perfection. Director Paul Weitz has also pulled off a Cameron Crowe style moment towards the climax when Peter Gabriel's Solsbury Hill plays (it's also in the trailer which oddly is missing here). Weitz certainly has a knack for picking songs.

    There's not a great deal for the surround channels or subwoofer to do, but then this is not really the sort of film that calls for much enveloping action or low end punch.



Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Introduction

Main Menu Audio & Animation

Dolby Digital Trailer

Audio Commentary - Paul Weitz (director) and Topher Grace (actor)

    A relatively un-inspiring commentary track with both Weitz and Grace seeming to enjoy each other's company more than concentrating on the job at hand. They seem intent on regularly describing what is occurring on the screen and as a result there is only a little useful information about locations and story development.

Featurette - Stars

    This and the following six featurettes are able to be played individually or via a play all option. They are all really part of the one longer making of featurette, but have been broken up into seven chapters with the word "Synergy" spelled out by the titles of the individual parts. Part one is called "Stars" and it runs for 3:00. It focuses naturally enough on the main stars of the film.

Featurette - Youth   

    This section runs for 2:37 and focuses on the key plot device used in the film - that of the younger boss.

Featurette - Getting Older

    This one runs for 2:18 and focuses on the more elderly stars and how they coped with the youngsters in the film.

Featurette - Real Life

    This is a brief look at how the sporting magazine aspect of the film mirrors some real life situations. Runs for 4:01.

Featurette - New York Locations

    A 3:13 look at the New York City locations used in the film.

Featurette - Editing

    A brief 4:12 look at how Paul Weitz and his editor managed to trim nearly an hour from the original cut of the film.

Featurette - Story

    A 4:00 featurette dedicated to how the story came fruition.

Deleted Scenes

    There are 16:11 of deleted scenes, available to play either with or without a commentary by the director. Some of these scenes were cut because they simply added too much to the run time or because some ideas had already been conveyed to the audience. There's still a nice selection here to have a look at though.

Biographies-Cast & Crew

    Comprehensive biographical and filmography details for the main stars plus the crew. Presented as a series of static screens.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 disc misses out on;

    I directly compared the Region 4 disc with its Canadian Region 1 counterpart and can report very similar video transfers. All of the extras and even the menu systems and introductory screens are identical (except the Region 4 refers to the audio options as Setup where the Region 1 calls it Languages). The obvious difference between the disc are the soundtracks, with the Region 4 a clear winner due to the presence of a lovely dts effort.

Summary

    In Good Company is one of those rare romantic comedies that in addition to providing a couple of hours of hugely satisfying and heart-warming entertainment prompts the viewer to ponder some topical issues, in this case the impact of the corporate culture of greed and the bottom line on our family life. With the leading roles shared equally by Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace and the adorable Scarlett Johansson, this is a film that should be accessible to a wide audience. It comes highly recommended.

    The video transfer, while not as vibrant as I would have expected, is still excellent with no problems to report.

    The audio is clean and crisp, and while being dominated by the front soundstage should surely please. The inclusion of a dts soundtrack is a nice bonus.

    The extras are a little lightweight, but suit the type of film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Darren Walters (It's . . . just the vibe . . . of my bio)
Friday, August 26, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).
AmplificationHarmon/Kardon AVR7000.
SpeakersFront - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Spot-On Review Darren - REPLY POSTED
Extras called synergy - REPLY POSTED