Saturday, January 07, 2006

Fun with Dick and Jane......Or Not...

Jim Carrey's new comedy had a lot of promise. It's based on the 1977 George Segal/Jane Fonda comedy that did well for both actors. This 2005 version has Jim Carrey, whom some say is at the top of his game in both serious and funny roles, and Tea Leoni, fresh from a good showing in Spanglish. Not too many women can sparkle standing next to scene-stealing Carrey, but if anyone can, Tea can.

But the movie is not so much a movie as a series of scenes strung together. You realize director Dean Parisot was going for funny, but many of these vignettes don't work. The whole extended scene of Dick bonding with illegal immigrants, then getting picked up by the INS because he can't speak well (due to a punch in the mouth in an earlier scene) is embarrassing and ultimately unfunny.

But some scenes work rather well. There are another couple of scenes where their son speaks in a Mexican accent, and we reach the obvious conclusion that he's spending more time with his Hispanic housekeeper than his parents, who are consumed by the entrapments of middle class. These scenes are pretty funny until later when the boy mysteriously loses his accent.

The movie does its best when it sticks to the story, or at least, the story they've tacked onto the second half of the movie, where Dick's Enron-type CEO escapes with all the money and leaves his employees, including Dick, jobless and pension-less. We see Alec Baldwin in a role he owns in these last few years as a despicable Kenneth Lay-type. In fact, the funniest scene is AFTER the movie, when the credits roll, as CEOs of fallen companies who have screwed their employees are listed with "thanks."

Fun with Dick and Jane is a disjointed comedy with some hilarious bits sandwiched in between scenes that don't work. But it still has the talented Jim Carrey, who is still the best in his field at physical comedy, and Tea Leoni, who holds her own against tough odds. Thumb's up for this one, barely.


Post a Comment

<< Home