Fun With Dick And Jane

Kudos where they're due: This comedy of downward mobility isn't afraid to name names by ending with a pointed list of thanks to corporate plunderers and their henchman, from Enron chairman Ken Lay to Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski. If only the movie itself were so sharply funny. The year is 2000, and corporate shill Dick Harper (Jim Carrey) is moving steadily up...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Kudos where they're due: This comedy of downward mobility isn't afraid to name names by ending with a pointed list of thanks to corporate plunderers and their henchman, from Enron chairman Ken Lay to Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski. If only the movie itself were so sharply funny. The year is 2000, and corporate shill Dick Harper (Jim Carrey) is moving steadily up the ladder at Globodyne Corporation, a booming business that has something to do with that crazy online gold mine everyone's desperate to get in on. But the corporate vice presidency that looks like the answer to all his prayers — his wife, Jane (Tea Leoni), could quit her awful job and attend to their small son (Aaron Michael Drozin), who spends so much time with the housekeeper that he speaks English with a Mexican accent — turns out to be a cruel joke. The day he's dispatched to tout Globodyne's financial health on a TV business show, word leaks out that glad-handing CEO Jack McCallister (Alec Baldwin) has cut and run, which sends the company's stock plummeting. Dick is suddenly an unemployed industry laughingstock on the fast track to bankruptcy: His pension is in stock, the local real-estate market is so depressed that their house is worth less than the balance on their mortgage, and the job market is glutted with executives chasing only a handful of positions. Dick and Jane sell their pricey furniture and appliances, fire the help, trade in their car for a junker, and can't even hold on to minimum-wage jobs. After Jane is reduced to participating in a cosmetic-drug trial that leaves her with grotesquely swollen lips, and after Dick gets rounded up by the INS while trying to pick up itinerant construction work, they turn to robbery. They dress up in ever-more outlandish disguises and generally enjoy the hell out of sticking it to the Man. Since the 1977 FUN WITH DICK AND JANE, which starred George Segal and Jane Fonda, never fulfilled the satirical promise of its premise, remaking it can be counted as a good idea, especially given how much suburban California after the Internet bubble burst looks like suburban California in the dark days of double-digit inflation, gas rationing and the collapse of the aerospace industry. Unfortunately, the remake is as toothless as the original and gets bogged down in the humiliations of the Harpers' down-slipping life. The comic payoff is slow to come and culminates in a kind of triumph-of-the-little-guy ending that only Frank Capra can pull off.

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  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Kudos where they're due: This comedy of downward mobility isn't afraid to name names by ending with a pointed list of thanks to corporate plunderers and their henchman, from Enron chairman Ken Lay to Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski. If only the movie itself were s… (more)

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