Labor Law Movie Review: In Good Company

I am not a huge fan of the comedy-drama genre but I had to make an exception for “In Good Company,” given the premise of the film.  Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is an advertising executive for a magazine called Sports America that is acquired by GlobeCom early in the film.  Fifty-one year old Dan is demoted from his corner office position and assigned a new boss, 20-something Carter Duryea (Topher Grace).  Hilarity ensues as the two learn to work together and adjust to their situation. 

As for the labor and employment content, it was a bit of a disappointment.  Obviously, I selected this film for the apparent age discrimination issue but it stayed clear of legal issues, focusing instead on the human side of the plot.  A couple of points did jump out at me.  First, it does appear that Carter was selected by GlobeCom based on merit — he was an up and comer at GlobeCom when the acquisition took place.  There was no real explanation beyond that for his being placed above Dan but there was also no indication of age bias.  Moreover, Dan is offered continued employment, making discrimination even less likely.  There is one part of the film where some positions are eliminated and Carter indicates that two of the individuals to be eliminated are not “pulling their weight.”  This would seem to indicate subjective decision making, which is not the best approach to a RIF.  Again, no legal issues are raised explicitly and therein lies my problem with the movie. 

It taxes credulity to think that Dan, who had some serious financial burdens, or one of the other victims of the RIF would not lawyer up and try to get a better deal.  Particularly when the apparent decision maker — Carter — looks like he’s barely old enough to drive his new Porsche.  As some defense lawyers like to say, the “optics” were problematic; a situation that frequently leads to litigation in the real world.  For me, it is like an action movie where a car makes a long jump over some obstacle, endures a bone shattering landing and drives away with hardly a scratch.  Or where the action hero gets hit in the head with a shovel and jumps up to fight on.  When I watch a movie I can suspend disbelief, but only up to a point. 

Labor Law Content ** (out of five)

Labor Law Accuracy **  (out of five)

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