Talk about taking a very good premise and shitting all over it. Fun with Dick and Jane insults your intelligence from the get-go. I think the filmmakers knew they had their hands on a smart premise, but they were afraid their audience wouldn’t understand the satirical undertone of the film so they felt it was necessary to dumb the humor down. Enter Jim Carrey, an actor who I have always found hilarious, but I admit his brand of humor doesn’t challenge your brain much (after all, one of his movies is called Dumb & Dumber).

Fun with Dick and Jane is a comedy about a middle class family living a typical suburban existence. The husband, Dick (Carrey) is a cog in the corporate wheel of a Enron-like corporation. Jane (Tea Leoni), the wife, is a travel agent. To his surprise, Dick gets promoted to VP of Communications at his company and is immediately given the task of making an appearance on a Moneyline-type cable news show to explain the performance of his company’s stock. Unbeknownst to him, the stock has been reduced to zero, the company is being investigated by the feds, and shit has pretty much hit the fan. Dick, along with everyone else at the company, lose their jobs and pension funds. Jane has quit her job in reliance on Dick’s promotion so the couple is in financial straits and, worse, are unable to secure other work. In desperation, Dick and Jane decide to turn to a life of crime to make money and, to their surprise, they become very successful at it.

As I said before, I really like the underlying premise of Fun with Dick and Jane. In fact, although the film came out in 2005, the idea is even more appropriate for today with the current state of our economy. The problems with this film lie entirely with the screenplay, which is surprisingly written by respected writer/director, Judd Apatow (I wonder if this was an early screenplay he wrote before he sharpened his writing skills). The story seems to go all over the place, jumping from one zany situation to another in a cartoonish manner. Everyone in this movie seems to be out of their fucking minds and no character exists that you can relate to or sympathize with. Considering the number of people out of work today, you would think it would be very easy to relate to Dick and Jane’s situation, but they are such a stupid and materialistic couple you really don’t give a shit whether they end up in the streets or not.

The early scenes with Dick and Jane looking for work  are inventive at times and there is some level of plausibility in the problems they face. Unfortunately, these scenes are short-lived and when the couple turns to crime, they effortlessly pull off their heists and soon make a fortune. There is no explanation of how they gained their criminal skills, what their kid thinks of what mommy and daddy do for a living, or anything. The climax of the film where the couple attempts to fuck over the former CEO of Dick’s company in an elaborate switch-a-roo at a bank is downright lame and unfunny.

When Jim Carrey began his film career with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, I looked forward to his films like I do when a big summer or winter release comes out every year. His movies were more than just that…they were events. In the last 10 years, however, Carrey seems to have rested on his laurels and doesn’t put any effort in trying to make the audience laugh. He reminds me a lot of what has happened to Eddie Murphy’s career. I think that both have allowed their wealthy mega-stardom lives to extinguish any creativity they once had. Here, Carry doesn’t even seem to try. His antics are recycled, tired hash that barely made me crack a smile. As for Tea Leoni, I have always disliked her ever since I saw her in Bad Boys. I have never understood why she continues to get employment. She is at best background wallpaper for the extras to stand against.

Fun with Dick and Jane is a messy piece of shit that will only appeal to you if you like your films to be spoon fed to you with a lot of sugar. This movie was made to appeal to a certain audience that is obviously the polar opposite of my kind of audience. For those who go out and buy tickets to see Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield, and other wastes of celluloid, this is the movie for them. If you are a regular reader of my blog and you agree with my ratings, this film is not for you.

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