Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

Released only two weeks into the new year, here is a comedy that is likely to be one of the warmest and kindest of 2005. Like Paul Weitz's previous film "About a Boy," this one tells a totally implausible story with so much emotional verisimilitude that it doesn't seem to matter. So what if these men would actually despise each other? So what if the older man would be fired on his younger boss's first day? So what if the film lacks the backbone to turn the younger boss into the villain he should be? It defies conventional expectations by populating a movie about corporate takeover with kind, gentle, friendly human beings who honestly like each other. David Lynch redefined his own expectations as a filmmaker when he took a similarly PG-rated turn with "The Straight Story," but with this release Weitz is only reinforcing his reputation as a upbeat filmmaker devoted to positive male relationships.

Dennis Quaid might have been robbed of his potential as a leading man in his youth, but he has aged into an excellent father figure in his recent films, a square-jawed embodiment of gently-fading masculinity who guides his younger costars into adult virility. Will Russell Crowe still be this manly in his fifties? Here Quaid shows again why he has always been underappreciated as an actor, because he brings grace and integrity to roles that do not show them off. Quaid's performance is one of the best reasons to see "In Good Company," which may be transparent in its plot machinations but is unexpectedly true in its emotional tone.

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