August 7, 2007

In Good Company (2005)
Universal Home Video

110 mins. · PG-13
16x9 · 1.85:1

Format
HD-DVD

Audio
English - DD 5.1 Plus
French - DD 5.1 Plus

Subtitles
English, French

Extras
Commentary Track, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes

Starring
Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Scarlett Johansson

Review by
Guido Henkel


Rating



(2005)

"In Good Company" is not exactly the film you'd expect to see in Universal's current HD-DVD push as it is neither part of their "half-time classic" catalog, such as "Dragonheart," "Smokey And The Bandit", and all the other films making it to high def that are solid entertainment but not really hot items and show quite a bit of age. "In Good Company" is only two years old and wasn't very successful to begin with, so I was surprised to see this release on HD-DVD.

The premise is intriguing. Imagine a star ad executive for one of American's leading sports magazine in his early 50s with a family and the perfect life. Then the magazine is sold to some conglomerate run by a tycoon on a feeding frenzy and the star executive is suddenly being demoted and forced to listen to the new guys brought in to run the company. What's worse, the new guy is half his age and has no clue about the business. And to top it off, the kid is suddenly beginning to date the older man's daughter…

Starring Dennis Quaid and Topher Grace as the two main characters the film is an entertaining and enjoyable romp. However, the film can never decide whether it wants to be a satirical commentary on the current state of corporate and over-commercialized America where companies are traded like commodities without respect for their heritage, clientele or employees, or whether it wants to be a romantic comedy playing off the relationship between the daughter, played by charming Scarlett Johansson and the young hot shot executive. As a result the story goes back and forth without finding its proper tone and somewhat haplessly winding here and there.

As expected, the high definition transfer of the movie is marvelous. With sharp edges and a very high level of detail it looks like a modern film, no doubt. Vibrant colors and solid black level further increase the appeal, giving the film a great, sharp look on this HD-DVD disc that is sure to please. It is unspectacular but for a film that has such a natural look, this transfer is everything you'd expect to see.

Audio comes as a solid 5.1 channel Dolby Digital Plus track that is also without flaws or notable limitations. Dialogues are always audible and never drowned out by the sound effects or the music. Given the natural quality of the track, surround usage is not very aggressive but put to good use throughout in an understated way that is perfectly reproduced by this track.

All the extras from the DVD version have been brought over to this HD-DVD disc, starting out with a commentary track featuring Topher Grace and director Paul Weitz. It offers up some additional insight into the production in an informative fashion. However, it is a tad too promotional for my taste without much real value as neither of the participants have had the chance to really reflect on the film and its flaws.

As supplements the release also features a selection of deleted scenes and two featurettes. "Real Life" is a look at some of today's most successful businessmen and their careers while "New York Locations" takes us on a tour to see the places where the film has been shot. Neither of the featurettes is overly exciting or valuable, I'm sad to say, and are basically repackaged EPK clips made to sound more intriguing than they really are.

"in Good Company" is an entertaining film. It is decidedly undecided in whether it wants to be funny or critical and thus has a few shortcomings that do hamper the overall experience. Still, it's a decent enough film and definitely worth checking out, especially since this high def version does improve on the image quality a bit.


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