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Directed by Dean Parisot
Nobody should be surprised to see Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni get all manic on the big screen. After all, Carrey’s entire career is based on rectal gymnastics and rubber-facery, and Leoni proved in Spanglish that her personality can become an ear-splitting Type A–triple–plus. So why doesn’t Dean Parisot let his two leads have more fun with Fun With Dick & Jane? In this remake of the 1977 George Segal/Jane Fonda–starrer, Carrey’s Dick Harper works in middle management at the Globodyne Corp., a job that buys his family flat-screen TVs and a lush front lawn. This perfect suburban life goes down the tubes, though, when Dick gets set up as the fall guy for Globodyne’s corporate malfeasance. (In the movie’s funniest bit, Dick’s buffoonish attempts to explain away the company’s misdeeds on a financial-news show get critiqued in real-time on the ticker below: “Globo-dying?…Stock in free fall…Horrific death of Globodyne.”) With the company in the toilet, Dick and Jane exchange their Beemer for a rusted-out jalopy and take showers in neighbors’ sprinklers. Soon enough, they resort to convenience-store stickups to reclaim their old lifestyle. Though Carrey and Leoni do ratchet up the histrionics a bit as their characters’ lives deteriorate, Dick & Jane too often feels as if it’s minding its manners. The punchless script, which shockingly has genius 40 Year-Old Virgin scribe Judd Apatow’s name on it, desperately tries for laughs with wacky disguises—Bill and Hillary, a gender-bent Sonny and Cher—instead of with its actors’ gifts for physical comedy. (Sometime comic genius Alec Baldwin, as oily CEO Jack McCallister, is also tremendously underutilized.) The movie’s bigger problem, though, is its assumption that yuppies-turned-robbers farce works as a satire of postmillennial corporate excess. There are enough $6,000 shower curtains floating around out there in the wake of the Enron, Tyco, and WorldCom scandals to make for reel after reel of biting commentary, yet Dick & Jane mostly limits itself to lampooning Starbucks-swilling, subdivision-dwelling white-collar drones, not their bosses. The closing credits offer special thanks to Ken Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, and Bernard Ebbers, but it’s the corporate bozos who should be offering up hosannas: In this toothless film, they don’t look bad at all. —Josh Levin