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Fun with Dick and Jane

A few flashes of Jim Carrey's wacky nature shines through, but this cynical look at how the American family can only achieve their dreams through crime is a bit more of a political statement rather than comedic entertainment.


History does seem to repeat itself, and so, the story of a successful couple striving for the American Dream through alternative means is just as relevant as the 1977 comedy starring George Segal and Jane Fonda. In this updated remake, Dick (Jim Carrey) and Jane (Tea Leoni) seem to have everything: good jobs, a big house, a Mexican housekeeper named Blanca, and a son who speaks Spanish because he spends so much time with her. When Dick is promoted, he is set up to take a fall for a big corporation, Globodyne, in an Enron-like scandal concocted by corrupt CEO Jack McCallister (Alec Baldwin) and his henchman Frank (Richard Jenkins). When the family falls on hard times--their lawn gets repossessed and they have to sell their prized plasma TV--they turn into modern-day Robin Hoods.


Few actresses can hold their own opposite a powerful comic like Carrey, and Leoni definitely matches him--managing to snag a few laughs of her own. But, ultimately, Carrey's slapstick humor seems out of place in a dark story where the moral is that crime does pay. A few Carrey-isms sneak through, like when he's alone mugging in the elevator, or when he has a melt-down at the executive club. But, the best scenes are when the couple goes on their robbing rampage--dressed as Sonny (Leoni) and Cher (Carrey) at a car dealership, asking for non-fat muffins when holding up a coffee shop and stealing their neighbor's voice-controlled Mercedes for a jewelry heist. Their life of crime also improves their sex life, leading to the film's funniest moments.


Dean Parisot, the mastermind behind the hysterical sleeper hit Galaxy Quest, should have turned this update into more than a predictable paint-by-number affair. Some of the jokes wear thin pretty quickly, but are still beaten like a dead horse. Ultimately, the film becomes a political commentary, with TV clips of George Bush talking about prosperity in the country and a Special Thanks scroll in the end credits which includes the names of executives and companies who have been caught in scandals. For anyone who's lost their jobs in the last year, Fun With Dick and Jane may be more of a painful reality check than a fun night out at the movies.

Bottom Line rated this film 2 stars.