Jim Carrey, Téa Leoni, Alec Baldwin, Richard Jenkins, Angie Harmon, John Michael Higgins, Richard Burgi, Carlos Jacott, Aaron Michael Drozin
Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller, Gerald Gaiser (story & novel), David Giler (1977 screenplay), Jerry Belson (1977 screenplay), Mordecai Richler (1977 screenplay)
See Dick Run.
When Dick Harper (Jim Carrey) is terminated as Globodyne Corporation's VP of Communications, he assures his wife, Jane (Tea Leoni), he'll find another job in no time. Months later, their lawn is repossessed, Jane has sold her body to science, and Dick's career as a day laborer ends with his deportation to Mexico. Madder than ever and not going to take it anymore, Dick and Jane turn to the fastest-growing sector in the white-collar job market - armed robbery - as they become upscale suburban Robin Hoods, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor - namely themselves.
$21.530 million on 3056 screens.
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 90 min.
Release Date: 4/11/2006
• Audio Commentary with Director Dean Parisot and Writers Judd Apatow and Nicholas Stoller
• Gag Reel
• Deleted Scenes
• Publicity Outtakes
PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.
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Fun With Dick And Jane (2005)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 13, 2006)
Funny how one’s initial impression of a movie can overrule all subsequent reactions. When 2005’s Fun with Dick and Jane hit the screens, I was headed to Arizona to visit my parents for Christmas. I read the positive Washington Post review and figured most others would like it as well.
Based on that, my Old Man and I took in a screening. We hated it, and only later did I learn that many others felt the same way. To my surprise, however, moviegoers really took to Fun. Submerged by blockbusters like King Kong and The Chronicles of Narnia, Fun got off to a tepid start with a $21 million opening weekend that fell below expectations. It looked like star Jim Carrey might have a rare comedic bomb.
However, Fun just kept chugging along after that. Eventually it tallied a more than decent $110 million. That doesn’t compare with Carrey hits like Bruce Almighty or Liar Liar, but it isn’t bad, and it certainly seems much better than this stinker deserved.
Fun introduces us to up-and-coming corporate go-getter Dick Harper. He expects a big promotion at Globodyne, and he seems to receive it. Alas, it turns out that shift CEO Jack McAllister (Alec Baldwin) simply wants to use Dick as the fall guy when all sorts of corporate malfeasance emerges.
Though Jack wrangles himself an insanely lucrative severance package, Globodyne goes into the toilet and Dick’s career heads down the drain with it. His behavior during the company’s demise makes him a laughingstock and he can’t get work elsewhere. His wife Jane (Tea Leoni) had worked as a travel agent, but since Globodyne ruled the local economy, its collapse means virtually no demand for her services.
This sends Dick, Jane, and their son Billy (Aaron Michael Drozin) into a spiral of poverty and shame. They became accustomed to their posh lifestyle and despair as they gradually lose all of their perks. Eventually Dick comes up with a solution: crime. He and Jane become bank robbers to recoup their lost earnings. The movie follows these events along with a plot thread in which they try to get back at Jack.
In today’s culture, a flick like Fun could have gone to town. The Enron scandal - a clear inspiration for Globodyne – remains in the headlines, and many other similar stories have emerged. This flick’s theme opened up many possibilities for incisive satire.
Instead, we get little more than Carrey goofing for the camera like he gets paid by the facial expression. Never exactly a subtle performer, Carrey goes way over the top here. He prances, he spazzes, he jumps and romps, all while he displays an ever-growing roster of wacky looks and poses.
Not that I can blame Carrey, as he seems desperate to inject some spark into this lifeless effort. Actually, I can claim that Fun shows some wit at its start. When it focuses on the dog-eat-dog corporate world and all its superficial posturing, it hits the occasional entertaining note. I can’t call the flick particularly clever or ever more than moderately amusing, but at least the first act offers a smattering of good bits.
The movie also finishes fairly well. The climactic sequence doesn’t score too many points, but the flick concludes on a solid note. Unfortunately, this clearly qualifies as too little, too late, and the movie’s resurgence at the end mostly serves to remind us how poorly it fares most of the time.
After that promising opening, Fun quickly degenerates into a series of ridiculous and unfunny sequences. The film relies on absurdity with no balance. There’s no realism on display, as it churns out one idiotic sequence after another. The filmmakers want to indicate the increasing despair felt by Dick and Jane, but they go too far. The situations are neither involving nor entertaining. They’re just lame and silly.
For an example of the lameness displayed here, look at little Billy. Since his parents work all the time, the Latin housekeeper essentially raised him. Fun pokes fun at this with his heavy Mexican accent. This provokes a minor chuckle the first time but quickly becomes tiresome.
The same goes for Fun with Dick and Jane as a whole. Despite the occasional witty moment, most of the movie relies on goofy antics and witless satire. There’s a good flick struggling to get out, but you won’t find it in this flawed remake.
The DVD Grades: Picture B/ Audio B/ Bonus B
Fun with Dick and Jane appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 and in a fullscreen version on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. No significant problems emerged here, but the transfer also lacked many strengths.
Most of the issues related to sharpness. Some edge enhancement resulted in occasional instances of lackluster definition. These weren’t overwhelming, and most of the movie seemed reasonably distinctive and accurate. I just thought the flick lacked the clarity I’d expect. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering emerged, though, and I noticed no source flaws at any point.
Fun went with a natural but subdued palette. The film preferred a moderately golden tint that gave the colors a nicely warm feel. Overall the hues were full. Blacks also seemed deep and firm, while low-light shots offered good delineation. Only the occasionally iffy sharpness made this a “B”-level transfer.
As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Fun with Dick and Jane, it seemed perfectly serviceable. Comedies don’t often offer lively soundfields, and Fun fell into the expected level of activity. The robberies opened up matters best, as they showed decent spread across the sides and the rear. Mostly the mix displayed stereo music and moderate ambiance. Matters never seemed particularly involving, but the track was acceptably broad given its focus.
No issues with audio quality emerged, though I thought the track could have used better low-end. Bass response was a little lackluster, as music and effects needed a bit more depth. Still, all elements came across as clear and concise. No distortion or other problems marred the effects, and both score and songs were reasonably lively. Speech sounded natural and crisp. This was a decent mix that worked fine for the movie in question.
When we move to the set’s extras, we start with an audio commentary from director Dean Parisot and writers Judd Apatow and Nicholas Stoller. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. At its start, Apatow promises the greatest commentary ever recorded. He doesn’t deliver on that guarantee, but the track is quite good nonetheless.
The three guys touch on a mix of subjects. We learn what kick-started the remake and follow elements of its development and writing. We also get notes about the cast and their work, sets and locations, the Enron situation and its effect on the film, connections to the original version and challenges with the remake, cut sequences and thoughts about the testing process, and various production issues.
The participants also dig into a variety of semi-off-topic subjects, many of which provide amusement. A discussion of politics circa 2000 mutates into a conversation about teens and oral sex. The others don’t think this is a great idea, but Apatow delights in consistently focusing on the issue.
That awkward subject and other funny bits make this a consistently interesting commentary. We get more than enough movie-related data to make it valuable, and the other pieces add spice to the package. I think this is a wholly entertaining discussion and one I really enjoyed.
Six Deleted Scenes run a total of 10 minutes, 29 seconds. These include “Backyard Barbecue” (1:24), “Spice It Up” (1:22), “Extended Jane Aerobics” (1:51), “KostMart Robbery” (0:53), “Video Store Robbery” (0:35) and “Toy Store Robbery” (4:24). In isolation here, some of these are pretty interesting. They probably would have simply made the movie itself drag even more, but they’re entertaining on their own. I especially like the guest turn by James Whitmore as an elderly security guard in “Toy Store”.
A three-minute and four-second Gag Reel comes next. I hoped the presence of the improv-happy Jim Carrey would make this more interesting than most of these blooper pieces, and that was indeed the case. However, don’t expect a constant riot. We see a few mildly funny bits but not anything unusually great.
Press Junket Highlights fills three minutes and 28 seconds. We see actors Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni as they field fairly dopey questions from interviewers. Their responses make this segment reasonably entertaining.
A few ads open the DVD. We find promos for Click, Memoirs of a Geisha and The Bench Warmers. These also appear in the Previews area along with clips for Da Vinci Code, Marie Antoinette, Rent, The Legend of Zorro, The Fog, Into the Blue, Spanglish, The James Bond Ultimate Collection and Cutting Edge: Going for the Gold. No trailer for Fun appears here.
This 2005 remake of Fun with Dick and Jane makes me curious to watch the original 1977 version. That’s not because I enjoyed the new one; instead, I’m interested to see if the first edition was as lame as this one. The 2005 Fun has some decent moments, but overall it comes across as unfunny and without much cleverness. The DVD presents pretty decent picture and audio as well as a few tasty extras highlighted by a very good commentary. If you like the movie, this is a solid release.
Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2777 Stars
| Number of Votes: 18