Fun with Dick and Jane review by Mike Long

On the surface, most of us want to be altruistic. These warm, fuzzy feelings even extend into the world of entertainment. If an actor states that they want to spread their wings and try something different, we say that we support -- when actually we want that performer to stick with what they do best. A great example of this is Jim Carrey. Sure, we checked out movies like Man on the Moon, but we really wanted old goofy Carrey back. Fun with Dick and Jane doesnt totally bring back the Jim Carrey from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, but theres enough insanity to make us smile.

Fun with Dick and Jane is a remake of a 1977 film which starred Jane Fonda and George Segal. This new version stars Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni as Dick and Jane Harper, a successful yuppie couple. Dick is an executive with a media trading company and Jane works for a travel agency. They live with their young son, Billy (Aaron Michael Drozin), in a very nice house with a housekeeper. When Dick receives a major promotion, Jane quits her job. However, the very next day, the CEO of Dicks company, Jack McAllister (Alec Baldwin), sells all of his shares of the company and government investigations begin. Dick and Jane suddenly find themselves unemployed. As their savings dwindle, the couple begin to make sacrifices, but they continue to find themselves in debt. On a whim, Dick and Jane rob a store and soon become addicted to committing crimes. Through larceny, they are able to rebuild their fortune. They then set their sights on getting revenge on Jack McAllister.

The main premise of Fun with Dick and Jane is based on companies such as Enron, where the employees where suddenly left high-and-dry after corrupt executives convinced everyone that the company was fine. Also, in todays economy, its easy to see the realism in the idea of a rich, suburban couple losing everything. However, beyond those two concepts, Fun with Dick and Jane is totally fictional and played completely for laughs. If youre like me, youll spend several minutes asking why Jane doesnt try to get her job back, but after a while, those logical questions go away as the film kicks into overdrive and the comedic moments begin to pile up. Once Dick and Jane become career criminals, the film becomes a total farce, and its one funny scene after another.

And many of these scenes are very funny. As noted above, we get a taste of wacky Jim Carrey, as the desperation of Dicks situation makes him wackier and wackier. There isnt a ton of Carreys trademark physical comedy here, but what is here is funny (most notably a scene where Carrey falls out of a ceiling). Beyond this, Carrey does a great job delivering the cynical and dark dialogue in the film. In this way, the film vacillates between broad physical comedy and very dry, sarcastic dialogue. There is an incredibly funny subplot concerning Dick and Janes son and the way in which hes been influenced by his environment. Tea Leoni can be annoying, but shes fine here, and based on Along Came Polly, Elizabethtown, and now this film, Alec Baldwin has settled into a career of playing CEOs.

Fun with Dick and Jane is an entertaining comedy, but it never quite has enough gusto to be a great film. There are some laugh out loud moments in the film, but the majority of the movie will produce only chuckles or smiles. I must say (having not seen the original) that the script by Judd Apatow and Nicholas Stoller has some surprising twists and turns and the film is rarely boring. So, this isnt a top-of-the-line Jim Carrey film, but it shows that he still has great comedy chops.

Fun with Dick and Jane robs DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The DVD contains both the widescreen and full-frame versions of the film. For the purposes of this review, only the widescreen version was viewed. The film has been letterboxed at 2.40:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The image is very sharp and clear, showing little grain and no defects from the source material. Director Dean Parisot (who made the underrated Galaxy Quest) has shot the film in a some heightened style, and the often bright colors look great in this transfer. The framing looks good and the artifacting is kept to a minimum. The DVDs Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track sounds fine, as it provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Musical cues provide some nice surround sound effects, but the bass response occurs only in the rare action scene.

I know that one cant really equate box-office success to DVD quality, but for a film which grossed over $100 million, the Fun with Dick and Jane doesnt have many extras. We start with an audio commentary from director Dean Parisot, and co-writers Judd Apatow and Nicholas Stoller. This is a fun commentary as the three men discuss how the film came about and then discuss the making of the film and the actors. They also talk about the elements which were ultimately cut from the movie. Speaking of which, the DVD contains 6 Deleted Scenes (However, there is no PLAY ALL option). There are three additional robberies here and some funny material was definitely cut out of the movie. The extras are concluded by a Gag Reel (3 minutes), which doesnt compare to the one from Liar, Liar and 4 minutes of Press Junket Highlights which show Carrey goofing around.


6 out of 10 Jackasses

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