|Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Tea Leoni, Alec Baldwin
Director: Dean Parisot
Jim Carrey hasn’t made me laugh in nearly a decade; partly because he’s been off pursuing a serious acting career, but mostly because his last few comedies have sucked. You could imagine my disdain, then, when it was announced that Carrey would star in an update of the 1977 George Segal/Jane Fonda film of the same name, but with the Judd Apatow Seal of Approval stamped on the final draft of the script, my concern slowly turned into anticipation. And believe it or not, “Fun with Dick and Jane” is actually an enjoyable trip to the movies. It features a short and sweet runtime, an incredibly straightforward plot, and best of all, classic Jim Carrey returning to what he does best.
Dick (Carrey) and Jane Harper (Tea Leoni) are living the American dream. They reside in a beautiful house in the suburbs, employ a polite Latin housekeeper (Gloria Garayua) who has taught their son how to speak Spanish, and even have the luxury to plan specific times to have sex. When Dick finally receives a much-deserved promotion to VP of Communications for the corporate tech giant Globodyne, he rushes home to tell his family the good news and urges Jane to quit her job at the travel agency. One day into his new position, though, Globodyne experiences an Enron-like meltdown that results in the loss of Dick’s job and pension plan with the company. What’s an honest man to do? Steal, of course, and before they know it, Dick and Jane are overcome by the excitement that surrounds the world of high-risk crime.
The people behind “Fun with Dick and Jane” were obviously itching for the opportunity to take a few cheap shots at corporate America, because they’re littered throughout the film, including a hilarious credit sequence at the end that extends special thanks to the corporate dumbasses of Enron, Adelphia and WorldCom, among others. This is, in fact, the exact sort of comedy that one should come to expect from Apatow, who has proven himself time and again as one of the hardest working writers in the business. He’s done an amazing job with producing a tight script that is not only perfectly paced to get the audience in and out of the theater in 90 minutes, but also manages to keep them entertained the entire time.
Some of the credit, however, must go to Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni, who exhibit such a great on-screen chemistry that it’s hard not to laugh most of the time. And while I would have liked to have seen Cameron Diaz (the studio’s original choice for Jane) and Carrey reunited for another comedy (their first being “The Mask”), Leoni certainly holds her own in the role. A majority of the film is put on Carrey’s shoulders anyways, whose uncanny ability to captivate the audience with something as simple as singing “I Believe I Can Fly” in an elevator continues to amaze me. In fact, most of the comedic material in isn’t very special, but Carrey’s performance makes it so, not to mention a supporting role by Alec Baldwin as the CEO of Globodyne. Low expectations for the film will most likely avert the chance of making back the colossal $100 million budget, but there’s nothing about “Fun with Dick and Jane” that the average moviegoer won’t enjoy.
The single-disc DVD release of the Jim Carrey comedy features a full-length audio commentary with director Dean Parisot and screenwriters Judd Apatow and Nicholas Stoller, deleted scenes, a gag reel and a series of publicitiy junket outtakes.