Making the Grades
Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) has spent his career building a first-rate team of ad agents and earning his spot in a corner office. Nevertheless, employee loyalty and job security falls through the floor when his company is absorbed in a corporate takeover.
Suddenly the 51-year-old husband and father is demoted to wingman for an inexperienced and very young 26-year-old boss named Carter Duryea (Topher Grace). Rather than relying on Dan's good business practices to increase sales, Carter concentrates on high-energy pep talks and in-house promotions to inspire "synergy" among his staff.
Yet regardless of how Dan feels about the new office mumbo jumbo, the rising cost of a university education for his kids, a monthly mortgage payment and some unexpected family news forces him to take the downsize rather than lose his job.
Meanwhile, Carter's meteoric rise from promoting cell phones to heading the ad agency for the new company's flagship magazine leaves him shaking in his shoes. But he's not about to admit that to anyone other than an anonymous girl in the elevator, a nameless young woman who turns out to be Dan's daughter, Alex (Scarlett Johansson).
Carter's pay raise and new job description also aren't enough to keep his wife (Selma Blair) of seven months from walking out the door. Now saddled with divorce documents, heavy work responsibilities and an aloof, cold-blooded fish for a pet, the fresh-faced executive jumps at a misunderstood invitation to Dan's home for dinner.
There he gets a first-hand look at a well functioning family who isn't obsessed with treadmills, take-out dinners or trendy communication devices. Content to sit around the table and talk, they are caught up in each other's lives and before long Carter finds himself involved with Alex in a very personal way.
However when the affair is discovered, employee relations between the boyish boss and the middle-aged member of staff take a drastic downturn. Now they are forced to juggle their professional interactions with their personal interests.
Speaking up for mature members of the workforce, this film will likely appeal more to adults who've been-there than their children. Some candid sexual comments, brief references to drug use and profanities are the most notable content concerns for viewers.
Still, the film focuses on the value of human relationships in profit-driven enterprises that are bent on acquiring assets regardless of cost. While money and fancy nameplates on the door have their place, happiness in life often depends on more than market margins and earnings-to-date. Given a chance to work along side one another, Dan and Carter find they both have something to learn while being In Good Company.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about In Good Company.
How did Carter’s upbringing and interactions with employees in his previous job influence the way he related to the staff at the magazine office? What value does mentoring have in improving and helping the careers of young employees?
What things are the most important to you in your career? What non-monetary aspects of the job are rewarding to you?