Part light, laid back comedy and part satire on the ruthlessness of the contemporary corporate scene, In Good Company benefits from a fine cast and some knowing observations.
Fifty-one year old Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is head of sales for a magazine called Sports America and his belief in what he does has allowed him to do it well over the years. In fact, his easy-going no pressure approach looks like it could win the magazine a major new client in Eugene Kalb (Philip Baker Hall) who has so far been reluctant to advertise with Sports America. But everything changes when the magazine is taken over by a conglomerate called Worldcom whose boss, Teddy K (Malcolm McDowell) has sent in hotshot employee, Carter Duryea (Topher Grace) - a guy who is half Dans age - to take over his job
and his office.
Carter wants Dan to stay on as his so-called wing man and Dan - with two daughters at home and the recent announcement by his wife Ann (Marg Helgenberger) that she is unexpectedly pregnant again - cant afford to leave.
When Carter gathers his staff for a pep talk, its clear that he is treading water and knows little about the business so he covers his inexperience by sprouting words like synergy to motivate the employees - some of whom he has to start laying off. Straightforward Dan questions the euphemism and bluntly tells Carter to admit that what he is actually doing is firing people. Soon he sees good friends and co-workers like Mortie (David Paymer) getting the bullet. Somehow, however, Dan and Carter are going to have to work together despite their very different worth ethics - and age difference.
Carter, whose wife has walked out on him after a seven-month marriage, is also lonely. So he has no qualms about gathering his less than happy staff for a Sunday meeting after which he invites himself to Dans place for lunch. Carter likes Dans family set-up and he especially likes his daughter, Alex (Scarlett Johansson) the one person with whom he is comfortable and honest about himself. The attraction is mutual and soon Carter and Alex are having a secret romance.
But if Dan finds out that his boss is having an affair with his daughter, their already shaky work relationship could collapse completely.