a critiQal film review Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)

  • DVD
  • Vudu

Plot: Dick (Carrey) and Jane (Leoni) are happy. Their son, Billy, is happy. Dick has just gotten promoted at his job. But wait - his job has just gone bankrupt. Now he has no job. How will he support his family? He could get another job. No, no one wants poor Dick. What will he and Jane do?

663 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 18s)
  • ...Carrey does what he can to keep the audience rolling with laughter - but most will still head for the exits.

After the success we had with Last Holiday (2006), we decided to give comedy another try this weekend, and check out Fun With Dick And Jane.

If you’re like me, you’ve never seen the 1977 version of the film starring George Segal and Jane Fonda. Most likely, all you know is that it might be based on the classic Dick and Jane books for new readers. So, would Jim Carrey be able to turn that rather simple idea into something worth watching, or would Tea Leoni help destroy the film just like she did Deep Impact (1998)?

Jim Carrey has a definite knack for comedy. Everyone knows that. Whether he’s playing a pet detective (Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)), a green-faced caricature (both The Mask (1994) and , to different degrees), a lawyer who can’t tell a lie (Liar Liar (1997)) or a man given God’s powers (Bruce Almighty (2003)), he has the knack for making almost anything funny on-screen. And he doesn’t stop with what the viewer sees in the final film either – every DVD proudly showcases a few of his other comedic routines in “Gag Reels” or “Bloopers”.

Does it really matter who he’s paired with? No, not really. He can be funny with anyone. Thankfully, that’s the case, as Tea Leoni contributes very very little to the comedy in Fun With Dick And Jane. Not content with just breaking up “The X-Files” (TV) (by demanding hubby David Duchovny spend more time at home), she seems to want to destroy every film she touches. She’s been thwarted before, but it took two people (Will Smith and Martin Lawrence) to stop her then (Bad Boys (1995)).

Now, it’s only Jim Carrey in her way for this film – but he rises to the challenge, and does what he can to keep the audience rolling with laughter, rather than heading for the exits. The other characters, including a very old looking Alec Baldwin, contribute very little to the film. Fun With Dick And Jane is Jim’s toy, and he plays it up as much as he can.

The plot starts off well – Carrey is set up to take the public fall for his company, and goes crazy trying to provide for his family afterwards. This eventually leads him to commit crimes – mostly armed robbery using a water pistol. His wife, not to be left out, joins in on the action, and the two of them go on a Bonnie and Clyde-like spree of robberies.

But then, just when the film has really started getting fun, they sober up, and it switches to a more of an Ocean’s 11 big-heist film – and the viewer is left a little in the dust. Why the big switcheroo? Ah yes, so the movie will end well, rather than the two of them going down in a haze of bullets or something. Sure, the heist part is fun to watch as well, but it’s a totally different film. It almost seems as if the filmmakers just needed to find something to make the movie into a happy ending, and the heist was the only thing they could come up with.

It’s rather interesting that during the “Press Junkets” feature, Jim Carrey mentions that this was a perfect time to do a remake of the film, after the fall of Enron. Huh? So right when people are recovering from personal disaster is the time to make a comedy about that personal disaster? Think of all the people who were affected by the fall of Enron. Do you think they want to see a comedy about it now? I doubt it. A drama, more likely. But something that pokes fun at how desperate their situation may have become? Hardly.

Despite Jim Carrey’s best efforts, Fun With Dick And Jane doesn’t deserve a place next to his great comedies. It’s decent enough to while away time on a Sunday afternoon, but nothing worth watching twice.

My advice? Wait for this one to hit the movie channels or TBS.

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