FUN WITH DICK & JANE(director: Dean Parisot; screenwriters: Judd Apatow/Nicholas Stoller/based on a story by Gerald Gaiser, Mr. Apatow and Mr. Stoller; cinematographer: Jerzy Zielinski; editor: Don Zimmerman; music: Theodore Shapiro; cast: Jim Carrey (Dick Harper), Téa Leoni (Jane Harper), Alec Baldwin (Jack McCallister), Richard Jenkins (Frank Bascombe); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Brian Grazer/Jim Carrey; Columbia Pictures; 2005)
“The only honest thing about the film was they didn’t put a gun to your head and make you buy a ticket.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
What fun with Dick & Jane? This lame improv domestic comedy, an unnecessary remake of the 1977 sharply drawn conspicuous consumer-satire that starred Jane Fonda and George Segal, has its morally bankrupt shtick fall flat as it updates to cover the Enron debacle. Screenwriters Judd Apatow (writer of “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”) and Nicholas Stoller turn in a dumb script that’s based on a story by Gerald Gaiser. Dean Parisot (“Galaxy Quest”) directs as if he were the fall-guy for the suits who want only to bring in big box-office and don’t care that they are selling yesterday’s garbage. Jim Carrey is at his hammiest, as he drives every scene he’s in with a full-blast of his usual slapstick routines. Unfortunately they just weren’t funny, and the crude satire against such deserving villains as Bush and Lay had no bite. This is another irrelevant film from asshole producer Brian Grazer, the master at making gold from the crap he produces.
It’s set in 2000 in Southern California, and bouncy upwardly mobile suburbanite exec Dick Harper (Jim Carrey) with corporation giant Globodyne receives word he’s just been promoted to v-p of communications. No sooner that he tells his harried travel agent wife Jane (Téa Leoni) the good news and to quit her job, that he learns he’s been set up as the fall-guy when asked by his boss to appear on a cable business TV show and to lie about cooking the books. The sleazy CEO Jack McCallister (Alec Baldwin), a thinly disguised Kenneth Lay, dumped his stocks and has stolen all the firm’s assets as the company collapses–taking with it everyone’s pension fund and job. We are then asked to sympathize with the artificial poverty of executive Dick and his so-called innocent management colleagues, as they lose their entire savings which were tied up in the Enron-like firm. When there are no good executive jobs available and after Dick fails as a minimum wage-earner in a place that looks like Wal-mart and then as a day laborer that attracts mostly immigrants, there’s obviously nothing left to do but to team up with his wife and become a stickup team of convenience stores and banks. This puts this obnoxious couple (somehow thinking its OK for them to steal but not OK for the Globodyne CEO to be a crook) back on easy street, and it ends with a stupid revenge plot engineered with convicted second man in Globodyne, the Chief Financial Officer, Frank Bascombe (Richard Jenkins), orchestrating with Jane and Dick a way to switch money from McCallister’s secret bank account to the company pension fund.
The only honest thing about the film was they didn’t put a gun to your head and make you buy a ticket.
REVIEWED ON 12/23/2005 GRADE: D
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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