January 21 - 27, 2004 • Vol. 25 - No. 03

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In Good Company—Sometimes it’s Good to
Know What Kind of Company You’re Keeping

 by The Maven and The Blonde
Film Columnists

Paul Weitz's (American Pie and About a Boy) first solo movie without his brother Chris, In Good Company, examines the turmoil that takes place when a multinational corporation takes over a national sports magazine. The film focuses on the personal transitions that occur within the office and the home with some attention to the business side of things. When layoffs loom in their future, the advertising department is abuzz with gossip. The head of the department is Dan Foreman, played by Dennis Quaid (Flight of the Phoenix and Frequency), who is a 51-year-old ad man. At home is his supportive wife Ann, portrayed by Marg Helgenberger (CSI and Erin Brokovitch), who has just found out—even though she is up in years—that she is pregnant again. Living at home with the couple are their two daughters, 18-year-old Alex, played by Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Space and Girl with a Pearl Earring). Alex has recently decided to go to N.Y.C, which is substantially more expensive than the local college. This puts yet another burden on Dan.

Meanwhile, the new head of the advertising department takes over Dan's position as well as becoming Dan's boss. He is Carter Duryea, a hotshot 26-year-old played by Topher Grace (That 70's Show and Win a Date with Tad Hamilton). Carter is nervous about meeting Dan. He also has a wife at home who is nothing short of unsupportive. He comes home one evening to find her suitcases packed at the front door as she explains that she is leaving him. Moving on with his life and new position, Carter buys himself a new Porsche to help him get into the swing of things. Unfortunately, he crashes it as he is leaving the dealership.

The two men meet, and here is where the story gets interesting. Carter invites himself to Dan's home for dinner and meets the family. Alex and Carter hit it off so well that they start a secret romance. The big shots above Carter tell him he must make numerous cutbacks in the department while trying to increase sales, and poor Dan has to watch the people he hired and trained let go. Plus, he has his own family problems to work through himself. Will Dan lose his job? Will Carter keep his? Will he lose his daughter to his own boss? Can Carter cut it? Go ahead and see the film to find out all of these answers and much more!
The Blonde: In Good Company was like The Secret of My Success meets Death of a Salesman meets My Boss's Daughter, meets The Father of the Bride 2 meets Wall Street. It was honest, intelligent, and REAL. What a breath of fresh air this film was. The storyline was beautifully well thought-out and not simply thrown together for the BUCK like so many of today's films. Okay, I am calling Brad Pitt! I KNEW Jennifer didn't have IT ALL! I am SO RIGHT for him! Don't worry, Maven, when I move into Brad's compound in L.A., we will still write our column. Note to self…get new boyfriend Brad to grow his hair back.

The Maven: Back to reality… At last, a film about the corporate world with more genuine heart than back-stabbing. Paul Weitz (director/screen-writer) could have taken his movie in the direction of a corporate satire, but instead he chose to focus on male bonding. The situations the character encounter are amusing and adult.

The Blonde:  You have no comment about ME AND BRAD? Fine! My favorite part of this film was the amazing sequences, editing and cuts. It was not only completely original but enhanced the story. As for Dennis Quad, this to me was his finest film besides Frequency and Backdraft. He looked adorable as well. Do you think he had any face work done recently? He can't be aging that well by himself! I wonder how Meg Ryan is doing since she left him for Russell Crowe and then Russell dumped her for another girl. I think I'll give her a call....
The Maven:  With all your calls to your Hollywood friends, I guess you'll be too busy to review a movie next week.

The Blonde: Don't be silly, I always have time for you and Entertainment News and Views. Ya know, I woke up this morning thinking about Julia Roberts. I wonder how she's doing with the twins. I hope things are going well with the breastfeeding. Maybe I'll just give her a check-up call. She might need me right now. Back to the film…It was interesting the way the storyline allowed the viewer to have a peek into the intricate workings, politics and corruptions of the corporate ladder. It showed how “letting people go” as they love to refer to firing an employee (when done to a lot of workers), actually breaks up a working family.

The Maven: Wait a minute, since when are you an expert on twins? When have you ever gotten up in the MORNING HOURS and, furthermore, where do you get off giving advice on breastfeeding?

The Blonde: Hey, I HAVE BREASTS!

The Maven: So do my sons, but there aren’t calling Julia OR giving Laleche classes!

The Blonde: Tough, I'm still calling her! She needs me!

The Maven: Well, what I want to know is why Hollywood insists on showing teenage girls with clean rooms?

The Blonde: You’re not kidding! That is SO NOT REALISTIC! Unless the NANNY or HOUSEKEEPER got to it first! Ya know, I was just thinking about Martha Stewart. She gets out in about six weeks or so. Maybe I should give her a call and see if there is anything I can do for her before her release!

The Maven: Now that's a call you can't make. She can only MAKE calls, not RECEIVE them.

The Blonde: Too bad, I was hoping to help her with her next cookbook.

The Maven: Give us all a break! You know as much about cooking as you do about breastfeeding OR twins…It's too bad our readers can't hear me laughing out loud RIGHT NOW! Back to what is real, David Paymer (Mr. Saturday Night) gives a most memorable performance as an old school salesman.

The Blonde: He is always wonderful. David is one of those actors that ya don't know his name but ya know his face. About Dennis's character, it's sweet how the love a father has for a daughter can be so pure and completely selfless. It reminded me of the movie Meet Joe Black, starring my new boyfriend Brad Pitt!

The Maven: Yes, their situation showed that Father Knows Best! His concern for her growing up and away was a little hard to watch but realistic. Maybe parents of college students can learn a few lessons by seeing this film, even though this topic was just a sidebar. I enjoy this movie immensely and recommend it to all. I rate it a B for Bonding on many levels.

The Blonde: I love closure in a movie. It truly gets me when I have to drive home finishing the ending of a movie's story in my mind. I mean, I don't getpaid for writing screenplay endings. It's NOT MY JOB! I was grateful that the writer for a change gave complete closure to his story. OH HOLD ON, it's my phone. “Hi Julia, just a second. I'll be right with you!” Okay moviegoers, I have to take this call. I rate In Good Company a B+. Oh, and for your snacks, have some FIRE Jaw Breakers in keeping with the movie's theme. See you at the movies. “HI JULIA I'm back!  HOW'S THE BREASTFEEDING GOING?”

The Maven: BLONDE Speaking of phone calls, if you're having trouble reaching Brad this weekend, he'll be at my house…

The Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education Presents the Film Moving Heaven and Earth

Movies and Music create an extraordinary multi-cultural experience when the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education presents the inspiring film Moving Heaven and Earth on Sunday, January 23, at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 6161 N.W. 22 Avenue at 3pm. Filmmakers Debra Gonsher Vinik and David Vinik have documented he touching story of the conversion of the Abayudaya people, living in virtual isolation as devoted Jews in modern day Uganda.

On an ordinary Saturday morning in remote Eastern Africa, one expects to see many things—a spectacular waterfall or brightly dressed Ugandan citizens on their way to the market. What you do not expect is a steady stream of men, women and children beside elders with walking sticks, making their way to a synagogue for a prayer service. But that is exactly the case of the Abayudaya, (Lugandan for Jews) a tribe that has been practicing Judaism for over eighty years.

During the 1970’s, in the face of rampant anti-Semitism under the reign of Idi Amin exemplified by torture and murder, many of the tribe held fast to Jewish practice and beliefs. Today amid conditions of extreme poverty, they preserve their tradition and faith—building synagogues, keeping kosher, attending Jewish holidays, and studying the Torah—despite enormous obstacles.

In February 2002, a Jewish consul made up of three rabbis from the United States (Rabbi Howard Gorin, Rabbi Scott Glass and Rabbi Joseph Prouser) and one from Israel (Rabbi Andrew Sacks) along with rabbinical student Moshe Cotel traveled to this community in Uganda. There, over a period of six days, they converted over 300 Abayudaya, welcoming them into the community of world Jewry.

Following the showing, filmgoers will hear the soulful sounds of the Florida Memorial Gospel Choir and foot stompin’ klezmer music by Klezmiamians.
This program is part of the upcoming 8th Annual Miami Jewish Film Festival which runs from March 19 – 27 with festival showings at The Sunrise Intracoastal Theater, The Regal on Miami Beach and The Bill Cosford Cinema in Coral Gables.

Tickets are $8 for adults; children under 12 are free. To purchase tickets, call 305-573-7304 or go to the box office 30 minutes prior to the film. For more information, visit www.caje-miami.org/filmfestival.

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