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FUN WITH DICK AND JANE

SYNOPSIS:
Dick Harper (Jim Carrey) and Jane (Tea Leoni) are living the American suburban dream, complete with cute kid and Latino maid (Gloria Garayua) - until Dick's giant employer, Globodyne, crashes Enron-like. Unable to find a job, Dick faces financial ruin. After selling everything they own, the Harpers are so desperate they'll try anything. Even stealing... but it's not until they have Globodyne's unscrupulous old boss (Alec Baldwin) - and the millions he siphoned out of Globodyne - in their sights that they feel they can really turn things around. (Remake of 1977 original, directed by Ted Kotcheff, starring George Segal and Jane Fonda.)

Review by Louise Keller:
There's a running gag involving an electronic collar to cub barking and I laughed out loud when Jane finds herself with deformed Donald Duck lips after participating as a guinea-pig in a Botox-like experiment. 'You're still beautiful,' Dick tells her. Fun With Dick and Jane is exactly that - a bit of holiday fun. This remake of the 1977 comedy that paired Jane Fonda and George Segal is a mildly amusing, wild ride with Dick and Jane, the couple who start with everything, lose everything including their lawn (which is repossessed) and then.....

It's a pleasant enough so-so comedy, largely due to the delightful pairing of Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni. Carrey delivers slapstick Carrey-style with pulled faces and crazy actions. Like the scene when he is summonsed by his superiors at work to 'come on up' to the revered 51st floor, where the top office executives pass the time in decadent offices, practicing their putts. Alone in the lift, Carrey's Dick dances triumphantly, singing at the top of his voice, echoes of which are heard on the passing floors. When the lift reaches its destination and the doors slide open, Dick is poker-faced and cool, before stepping out to learn his blessed fate. Leoni is a vibrant match for Carrey, as the energetic Jane, who wastes no time indulging in luxuries for the home as she goes on a spending spree, high from the news of Dick's promotion.

Of course, the glory is shortlived, and when Dick finds himself jobless and at home, he bounces golf balls on the parquet floor, jumps over banisters and switches light switches on and off to pass the time. The couple's attempts to save their home and future are a series of skits highlighting in Bonnie and Clyde escapades.

Alec Baldwin makes a super snarly corporate bad-guy, similar in style to the one he played recently in Cameron Crowe's Elizabethtown, and the final mad-cap plot twist is an apt conclusion to an hour and a half of not so meek, manic 'musement'.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
No, there weren't any good old days, either in politics or in cinema, but whenever filmmakers remake a movie it's usually because the original had something of value. Capturing that elusive quality is often far harder than it looks. With comedy, the risk is even greater, partly because our sense of humour changes. By now you'll get the feeling I am not going to rave about Fun With Dick and Jane 2005. No, but it's not all bad.

The film's sense of escapist fun never lets up, and Jim Carrey propels himself full throttle into a character that is difficult to manipulate with his unique style. His manic style clashes with the pathos of the concept that underlines the humour. On the other hand, the sense of fun he brings to the role is infectious.

Perhaps the film's greatest weakness is a sense that nothing is for real, depriving us of the possibility of layering the story with drama to drive the comedy. Tea Leoni is fine, although at times she is evidently acting, and supports provide larger than life characters. The film seems unbalanced, with most of its running time in set up and then in a series of set pieces, so that the final rush of a resolution seems oddly disconnected and a bit contrived.

But escapism it is, and some fun can indeed be had with Dick and Jane.....

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 2

FUN WITH DICK AND JANE (M)
(US, 2005)

CAST: Jim Carrey, Tea Leoni, Alec Baldwin, Michelle Arthur, Richard Burgi

PRODUCER: Jim Carrey, Brian Grazer

DIRECTOR: Dean Parisot

SCRIPT: Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller, Peter Tolan

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jerzy Zielinski

EDITOR: Don Zimmerman

MUSIC: Theodore Shapiro

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Barry Robison

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2005







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