Fun with Dick and Jane

There is a character named Dick and one named Jane in Fun with Dick and Jane, but there is no fun. Not one drop of it. In a marketplace chock-full of remakes, Fun with Dick and Jane is one of the worst in recent memory (the original came out in 1977 and starred George Segal and Jane Fonda). This is a high concept movie (suburban couple turns to crime to pay the bills) that hoped to leverage the slapstick stylings of Jim Carrey by giving him many opportunities to riff. Well, the filmmakers forgot to turn the concept into a coherent movie, and Carrey (Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) has been doing the same thing for so long that he runs the danger of turning into a Robin Williams. Still, Carrey is a perfectionist, and there were rampant rumors of endless takes and budgetary overruns in an attempt to inject humor into this tepid story.

The smart move by director Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest) and writers Judd Apatow (The 40 Year Old Virgin, Celtic Pride) and Nicholas Stoller was to place the film in the year 2000, right around the time of the market implosion. Dick Harper (Carrey) works for Globodyne, a generic large company that is about to go the way of Enron, Worldcom, Tyco, or any of the other large companies that went kaput. Dick receives a promotion to Vice President of Communications. Since he's making more money, Dick convinces his wife Jane (Tea Leoni, Spanglish, House of D) to quit her job. She does, and Dick's boss (Alec Baldwin, Elizabethtown, The Aviator) ambushes him by allowing him to speak on national television as Globodyne stock goes down the drain.

The Harper's good life is now gone. They have no source of income, so they pay their housekeeper in appliances. Dick runs around the neighborhood stealing pieces of lawn. Both try unsuccessfully to obtain new jobs. Finally, well into the movie, when it looks like nothing will work do Dick and Jane turn to crime. This decision occurred too late in the film. Up to this point, there is a whole lot of nothing going on, and even fans of Carrey's shtick will find themselves bored. So it looks like Parisot has a chance to improve things. They improve only marginally. The joke is that Dick and Jane have no conception of how to rob convenience stores or coffee shops. They bungle things horribly, yet still manage to get money. The first two attempts are mildly amusing. Instead of focusing on more strange tries, Parisot jumps forward a bit and all of a sudden Dick and Jane are back to enjoying a comfortable lifestyle. The plot then takes a really bizarre turn from comedy into a bit of suspense, as things spiral out of control, before an ending that is tacked on. It will leave people scratching their heads. It barely makes sense, and feels more like Parisot was just looking for a way to finish the film.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour 30 minutes, Rated PG-13 for brief language, some sexual humor and occasional humorous drug references.

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