If ever there was a paycheck movie, “Fun with Dick and Jane” is it. Star Jim Carrey must be buying lots of art, or else he has a gambling problem that puts Michael Jordan’s to shame, because lack of money is the only reason he’d so willingly torpedo his credibility after garnering such great reviews for “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
A remake of the 1977 film of the same name, “Fun with Dick and Jane” gives us Dick Harper (Carrey), newly christened VP of Communications for Globodyne (which we are told is a “worldwide leader in the consolidation of media properties,” whatever that means). What he doesn’t realize is that he’s being thrown to the wolves by his bosses, CFO Frank Bascombe (Richard Jenkins) and CEO Jack McCallister (Alec Baldwin), who have been pillaging the company’s pension fund and stock holdings. No sooner has Dick convinced his wife Jane (Téa Leoni) to quit her job in anticipation of his $150K plus bonuses, then Globodyne implodes with Enron-like rapidity, leaving the Harpers with a house they can’t afford, a maid they can’t pay, and no work to be had.
As time wears on, and the Harpers face the prospect of losing their home (and since neither of them seem capable of holding down even the most menial of jobs), Dick and Jane find themselves turning to more creative ventures in order to maintain their lifestyle. Their first attempts at armed robbery are misfires, but the couple soon gets the hang of things, restoring their electricity and returning to the upper middle class lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed.
“Fun with Dick and Jane” is a typical end-of-the-year dump film, in that there’s almost no reason to see it. What starts as an intermittently amusing skewering of corporate malfeasance quickly turns into another excuse for Carrey to act “zany.” Worse, the physical comedy, once Carrey’s specialty, is half-assed, while the attempts at satirizing American big business are blunted by the Harpers’ own actions: they rob banks and other high profile mega-franchises not so they can help Dick’s fellow co-workers who lost everything, but so they can throw pool parties and get their plasma TV back. It isn’t until Dick himself is faced with indictment that they decide to go after McCallister himself.
.”Galaxy Quest” director Dean Parisot shows none of the sure-handedness he displayed in that film, and while there are some flashes of the kind of humor that made “Freaks and Geeks” so memorable, little of co-screenwriter Judd Apatow’s humor can be found here. The funniest part of the movie, in fact, is an end credits sequence shout-out to the companies like Enron and WorldCom that made “Fun with Dick and Jane” possible.
As if their financial crimes weren’t enough.
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