The film is about a middle-aged advertising executive whose company is bought out by a large international corporation leaving him with a new boss who is nearly half his age. His life is further complicated when his boss takes a romantic interest in his daughter.
Dan Foreman (Dennis Quaid) is a 51-year-old advertising executive and head of sales for Sports America, a major sports magazine. Happily married with two daughters, Dan faces a life-changing event when his magazine is bought out by Globecom, an international corporation that promotes the corporate concept of "synergy". After he is forced to fire several of his longtime colleagues, Dan is demoted and becomes the "wingman" of his new boss, Carter Duryea (Topher Grace), a 26-year-old business school prodigy. While Dan develops clients through handshake deals and relationships, Carter champions the corporate creed of synergy, cross-promoting the magazine with the cell phone division and "Krispity Krunch", a snack food also owned by Globecom.
Dan and Carter are both facing challenges in their personal lives. Dan is supporting two daughters—16-year-old Jana (Zena Grey) and 18-year-old Alex (Scarlett Johansson) who is preparing to enter college—and learns that his wife is pregnant with their third child. Meanwhile, Carter is dumped by his adulterous, narcissistic wife of seven months and focuses all of his energy on work. With Dan facing the financial realities of taking out a second mortgage, to cover his daughter's college education costs, and a new child, and with Carter needing Dan's practical, real-life experience in the field of advertising, the two form an uneasy friendship.
Carter, who has been struggling with loneliness following the breakup of his marriage, invites himself to dinner at Dan's house, where he meets Dan's daughter, Alex, and the two quickly form an attraction. Their initial friendship allows Carter to forget his loneliness, and Alex, who is now attending New York University, is able to escape her own loneliness and boredom. In the coming days, Carter and Alex spend time together and become romantically involved. Fearful of offending her father, they keep their relationship a secret for the time being.
Their friendship, however, takes a turn for the worse when Dan discovers that Carter and Alex have been seeing each other, approaches them in a restaurant, and punches his boss in the face. The confrontation with her father convinces Alex to break up with Carter who is heartbroken. Soon after, Globecom CEO Teddy K visits the sales office and during a grand speech to all the employees on synergy and other similar corporate business strategies, he is questioned by Dan and shrugs him off. Carter's boss, Mark Steckle, tells Carter to fire Dan. Carter refuses, claiming that losing Dan will cost them a major advertising contract. Steckle gives them 24 hours to seal the contract or be fired. Dan has developed a long term relationship with the client, and Carter gives way to Dan's personal approach. The strategy works, and they conclude a deal.
Following another corporate shakeup, Sports America is sold off, Carter is let go, and Dan returns to his former position as head of sales. Having developed fatherly feelings toward Carter, Dan offers him a position in his new department as his "wingman", but Carter refuses, admitting he needs to take some time off and examine what he really wants to do in his life. On his way out of the building, Carter runs into Alex, and they exchange pleasantries. Dan's wife gives birth to a girl. He calls Carter (who is jogging outdoors for the first time and feels like a new man) with the news.Dennis Quaid as Dan Foreman
Topher Grace as Carter Duryea
Scarlett Johansson as Alex Foreman
Marg Helgenberger as Ann Foreman
Clark Gregg as Mark Steckle
David Paymer as Morty Wexler
Selma Blair as Kimberly
Ty Burrell as Enrique Colon
Frankie Faison as Corwin
Philip Baker Hall as Eugene Kalb
Amy Aquino as Alicia
Lauren Tom as Obstetrician
Colleen Camp as Receptionist
Zena Grey as Jana Foreman
John Cho as Petey
Malcolm McDowell (uncredited) as Teddy K, Globecom CEO
In Good Company received mostly positive reviews and has a rating of 83% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 167 reviews with an average score of 7 out of 10. The consensus states "The witty and charming In Good Company offers laughs at the expense of corporate culture." The film also has a score of 66 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 40 reviews.
On October 14, 2014, Universal Television hired Josh Bycel and Jon Fenner from Happy Endings to develop a TV show based on the film for CBS.