Fun With Dick and Jane
Dick Harper (Jim Carrey) has a high powered job at Globodyne, a beautiful wife (Tea Leoni) and a kid who speaks Spanish (because he spends all his days with the Mexican babysitter). Tapped for a promotion, Dick tells Jane to give up her job and crack open the champagne. But the new position turns out to be a poisoned chalice: Globodyne is a sinking ship, and Dick is left carrying the can on live TV as everything goes belly up.
Unemployment may not seem the most natural starting point for big laughs, but this remake of a 1977 George Segal, Jane Fonda comedy scores points for effort. It even finishes with a well-earned debt of thanks to Enron chiefs Kenneth Lay and Jeff Skilling.
Dick and Jane are prototypical middle class white collar workers living the American Dream (their names echo a series of reading learner books, the US equivalent to 'Janet and John'). So the joke is: (1) See these materialists stripped of all their wordly goods (2) Watch them try their hands at service sector jobs and fail dismally, and (3) Squirm as they embark on a life of crime, armed with a squirt gun and a second hand VW.
Without making any great claims on its behalf, Dean Parisot's movie does deliver on each of those three promises. Playful if a bit sloppy, it supplies enough story to keep Carrey sparking, but not so much as to damp his style. (Given that he also produced the film, that's presumably how he likes it.)
If you're keeping accounts, you might think the Harpers' crime spree is a little too lucrative too quickly (and what must the neighbours think?), but I suspect most audiences will be happy to go with the flow. Carrey and Leoni make a game pair of clowns, you want to let them show you a good time - and every so often they hit pay-dirt.
Unfortunately results for the last quarter are extremely disappointing. Dick and Jane get caught up in joke (4): a laboured and over-complicated plot to get even with their old Globodyne nemesis Alec Baldwin. It's a weak ending for a good-natured, fast-paced but decidedly uneven lark.