Due largely, perhaps, to the explosive rise of so-called “reality television,” many recent filmmakers have presented offerings that attempt to give a more honest view of human interaction than in the past. Moving away from the traditional notion of cinematic heroism where handsome, charming characters always know exactly the right word for every situation, many films of the 21st century have centered around protagonists whom seem unsure of themselves, oftentimes granting insight through the awkward pauses and jokes prevalent in their speech. Just as movies like “Spider-Man” and the cult hit “Donnie Darko” feature lanky, relatively ordinary-looking heroes instead of actors that might fit the more traditional model, the films “Garden State,” “The Life Aquatic” and others have relied on more subdued comedy that finds its humor largely within the confines of the bizarre. Within this new “cinema of awkwardness” movement, director Paul Weitz’s latest offering, “In Good Company,” relies on the speech of the normal world, delightfully filled with all the uncomfortable pauses and chuckles that appear in real life. Weitz, perhaps maturing a bit since “American Pie,” successfully makes this film interesting through “In Good Company’s” ability to blend through different genres. Through the course of the film, there are moments of comedy, romance and drama that make this movie a difficult one to categorize and much more enjoyable due to the carefully crafted attempt for it to mimic ordinary human experience, which fosters some identification in the audience. The film is captivating, simply because of the artful effortlessness in its dialogue that Topher Grace of “That ’70s Show” consistently produces.The film, like most Hollywood movies related to work and consumerism, lightly jabs at corporate culture by showing the emptiness of the world Carter Duryea – played by Grace – has sought to attain by climbing the corporate ladder, most prominently highlighted by his relatively unemotional responses to the destruction of his marriage and his car. The largest and most entertaining instance occurs when Worldcom CEO Teddy K – Malcolm McDowell’s cameo – gives an entirely vapid speech regarding the corporate buzzword “synergy” and responds to questions regarding corporate responsibility from Dan Foreman – Dennis Quaid – by offering an answer devoid of any real meaning or relevance. “In Good Company” finds its appeal through its combination of everyday situations with ordinary interactions.Schnee can be reached at cschnee@campustimes.org.

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