Review Date: January 20, 2005
Director: Paul Weitz
Writer: Paul Weitz
Producers: Paul Weitz, Chris Weitz
Dennis Quaid as Dan
Topher Grace as Carter
Scarlett Johansson as Alex
A 51-year “old school” corporate sales man is reshuffled in his job when a mogul overtakes his company’s reigns and places a 26-year old go-getter as his immediate supervisor. Initially, the man finds it difficult to cope with this “demotion”, but soon gets to know the younger man and develops a better understanding of his place in the company, and his life. At the same time, the younger man falls for one of the geezer’s daughters and that’s when the fun really begins! Sort of.
Not a bad movie, but not a particularly great or memorable one either. I enjoyed this film on the whole, wasn’t really bored, liked its characters, felt a small connection between myself and Topher Grace’s workaholic/I-don’t-have-any-friends character, but at the end of the movie, even with its small sentimental moments getting to me, I just didn’t leave the theater with any sort of real impression one way or the other. It might’ve been because a lot of it was just too predictable, with most of its lead plot points already given away in its trailers, or the fact that the characters, who despite being really nice-hearted, generally well-behaved people, just came off as…well, I hate to say it but…boring! Scarlett Johansson’s character even alludes to that fact about herself in the film as she points out that her life isn’t really all that exciting and I tended to agree. It also seemed like most of the emphasis in the film was about office politics, particularly when there’s a restructuring or when older folks are “let go”—points that weren’t exactly new to me or particularly relatable. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good, I mean, it was interesting enough, but for me, it just didn’t pull me in altogether. I liked the stuff between Grace’s character and Dennis Quaid though, particularly since there was a nice chemistry between the two, and an obvious father/son thing happening. The film’s trailer also overbuilt the relationship angle between Grace and Johansson, which as it turns out, is actually quite secondary in the picture.
One of my favorite movies of all-time is JERRY MAGUIRE and this film felt a lot like a teeny-weenie light version of that one, without the memorable lines or emotional tug (they did play a song that was played in that film though, and had the lead character in this movie relate to a fish, as Jerry did in the latter flick). In fact, one thing that did really disappoint me about this movie was its lack of laughs. I remember smiling here and there, but never really laughing out loud at anything. Was it even supposed to be funny? I think it was. And what the heck kind of small role was that for Selma Blair? Was she cut out of the film with a meat cleaver or did her agent actually believe that this was an interesting role for her? Very odd and entirely wasted. Overall, I really liked all of the performances in this movie though, with Quaid really coming through as the “old guy” hanging on to his sanity as his life’s leaner years are fast approaching, Grace continuing to show great promise as a young actor to whom audiences will be able to relate, and Johansson, who despite playing her character a little too “shy and reserved” in my opinion, was still her gorgeous self and came through on the emotional front as well. I really liked her connection with her dad too…you don’t see that too often. So overall, I would recommend you see this film in theaters if the plotline or actors really interest you, otherwise, you’re no worse for the wear if you wait for dvd to check it out, since it doesn’t really have all that much to go nutty over either. An easy date movie, at best.
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian