The sweetness of In Good Company.

Reviews of the latest films.
Jan. 13 2005 6:10 PM

The Tender Ways of Corporate Sharks

In Good Company sweetens smarmy capitalists.

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There is one good exchange, which is in the trailer: "Elektra—like the tragedy! Your parents must have had a sense of humor." "Not really." And there is one good special effect: The villain called "Tattoo" unleashes birds of prey, wolves, and snakes from his painted body. (Computers were made for effects like that.) But Elektra is otherwise ho-hum. It hits its marks, but it has none of the surreal delirium of the Hong Kong pictures that obviously inspired it—A Chinese Ghost Story, The Bride With White Hair, The Heroic Trio. It needs some personality, some flakiness, some genuine weirdness. Elektra is supposed to have obsessive-compulsive disorder, to the point where she even counts her steps. But in the context of the movie, that doesn't look bizarre: It seems deeply in tune with whole mechanical, paint-by-numbers construction. There isn't a whisper of spontaneity.

David Edelstein is Slate's film critic. You can read his reviews in "Reel Time" and in "Movies." He can be contacted at slatemovies@slate.com.