HE’S RICH, YOUNG AND HANDSOME. HE’S IN LOVE WITH YOU AND HE’S YOUR DAD’S BOSS.
Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid), a 51-year-old ad executive for a sports magazine, is replaced by a 26-year-old up-and-comer (Topher Grace) who also falls in love with his daughter (Scarlett Johansson). Director Paul Weitz has become a reliable producer of comedies that are pleasant and even offer food for thought. This film successfully shows one man trying to handle the challenge of growing older, and another trying to bring some meaning to his lonely and empty life. Quaid and Grace are perfect in those parts (it’s fun seeing them build a relationship) and they are very ably supported by Johansson as the daughter. The script is smart and funny and says something about life’s little quirks.
2004-U.S. 109 min. Color. Produced by Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz. Written and directed by Paul Weitz. Cast: Dennis Quaid (Dan Foreman), Topher Grace (Carter Duryea), Scarlett Johansson (Alex Foreman), Marg Helgenberger, Selma Blair, David Paymer… Philip Baker Hall. Cameo: Malcolm McDowell.
Last word: “There is definitely a point in this film where I felt like I had to decide whether I was going to base this film on other films or base this film on some perception I had on what reality was. That means that Dennis Quaid’s character for instance does not have some big plot where he tries to sabotage Topher. It was tempting to do something like that and it might have given his character more of a traditional arc, but I thought it was interesting to just see this guy almost have a war of attrition […] is he going to retain his dignity and eventually whether he is going to be able to cope with becoming a father again at the age of 51. […] I think also my big hero has always been Chekhov who definitely plied that terrain, who wrote things that he considered comedies in the front of his plays. So the idea that there is not much separation between comedy and tragedy is an appealing one to me.” (Paul Weitz, Film Monthly)