Fun With Dick And Jane

Fun With Dick And Jane


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Somewhere in the long grass at the back of this property is a good idea gone to waste. Blame it on the script, although Jim Carrey doubles as producer, which puts him squarely at the scene of the crime. The problem is a simple one. When gags are so predictable, there has to be something else fuelling the laughter machine and that something else is Goofalot himself.

He does exactly what it says on the tin, but no more. Dick is a fun guy when he's not at work, although sees precious little of his son Billy, who learns Spanish from the Mexican help. Jane (Tea Leoni) loves him in that unquestioning, puppy dog, middle-class, suburban-sensible way that makes marriage look like a Ben & Jerry chocolate chip fudge sundae, without pistachios.

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The plot has relevance in The Land That Bush Built, because it's about a fat cat businessman (Alec Baldwin) falsifying figures, lying about profits, taking the money and exiting from his rooftop heliport as the company goes belly up, the files are shredded and the employees left with their loyalties hanging out to dry - sans pensions, sans jobs, sans prospects. "We followed the rules," Dick says, "and we got screwed." Enron, anyone?

The film follows Dick as he looks for work - cue series of comic failures. Their savings slowly slip away until they reach a sobering moment when Jane says they mustn't go to bed late because "the soup kitchen stops serving at eight."

There is no reason why this should not be a hoot, especially when they start robbing convenience stores and banks, but nothing is followed through, as if the writers are desperate to fit everything in before the sentimental finale, and so the film feels episodic, like a sketch show, and certain characters - Billy, the dog, the maid - are simply dropped.

It would have been better if they had concentrated on one aspect of Dick's post-redundancy nightmare, like the job hunt, or the amateur crime wave, or getting even with Mr Fat, and not tried to cover all bases.

Carrey's antics have become familiar to aficionados of Ace Ventura and Liar Liar and, for the first time, you feel like checking his Sell By Date, which, for a fan, is deeply disloyal.

Reviewed on: 20 Jan 2006
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Fun With Dick And Jane packshot
Getting even with thieving CEO after unfair dismissal in corporate redundancy caper.
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Director: Dean Parisot

Writer: Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller, Peter Tolan

Starring: Jim Carrey, Tea Leoni, Alec Baldwin, Richard Jenkins, John Michael Higgins, Richard Burgi, Michelle Arthur, Octavia Gomez, Peter Conklin

Year: 2005

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US


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