×

Fun With Dick and Jane

The new "Fun With Dick and Jane" gives the finger to scandal-ridden big businesses everywhere. Breezy, uneven update of the 1977 George Segal-Jane Fonda vehicle is the rare Hollywood remake that, by daring to reinterpret its source material within a fresh political context, actually has a reason to exist.

With:
Dick Harper - Jim Carrey Jane Harper - Tea Leoni Jack McCallister - Alec Baldwin Frank Bascombe - Richard Jenkins Veronica Cleeman - Angie Harmon Garth - John Michael Higgins Joe - Richard Burgi Oz Peterson - Carloss Jacott Billy Harper - Aaron Michael Drozin Blanca - Gloria Garayua

A screwball heist comedy for the Enron era, the new “Fun With Dick and Jane” gives the finger to scandal-ridden big businesses everywhere. Breezy, uneven update of the 1977 George Segal-Jane Fonda vehicle is the rare Hollywood remake that, by daring to reinterpret its source material within a fresh political context, actually has a reason to exist; the results, if not exactly subtle, are still fun enough to fend off any charges of titular false advertising. Fans of Jim Carrey in full-on manic mode should help Sony bank some B.O. during a competitive holiday frame.

Some might argue that by lambasting the giant corporations whose politically entrenched top dogs and fraudulent accounting practices have wreaked havoc on the American economy in recent years, pic is basically shooting fish in a barrel. True enough, but when the fish are this rotten, why complain?

Pointedly setting their story in the year 2000, pre-Enron, scribes Judd Apatow and Nicholas Stoller (who previously collaborated on TV’s short-lived “Undeclared”) imagine a cartoonishly exaggerated version of the doomed corporate behemoth in Globodyne, a company specializing in “fiber-optic content provision,” among other things.

In the original, it took five minutes for aerospace engineer Dick Harper to get fired. Here, it takes almost half an hour for an entire company to go under, taking Dick (played by Carrey, who produced with Brian Grazer) with it. Within hours of being promoted to a top communications post, Dick is brought on TV to announce the company’s earnings and explain why chief executive Jack McCallister (Alec Baldwin) has abruptly dumped his shares of Globodyne stock.

After an amusing scene of frantic document-shredding, during which the company’s No. 2 (an effective Richard Jenkins) goes on a boozy expository rant about Globodyne’s cooked books, Dick breaks the news to his wife Jane (Tea Leoni), who, as luck would have it, has just quit her job. With both spouses out of work, a son (Aaron Michael Drozin) to feed and a pile of ever-rising debt, it’s not long before they’re forced to sell off the Beemer and the plasma TV while the rest of their beautiful suburban abode is stripped bare.

While some scenes are lifted straight from the original (i.e. contractors showing up to repossess the lawn), the script adds another satirical layer by playfully sending up Dick, Jane and the greedy consumerist culture that produced them — evident from the cookie-cutter houses lining their street as well as the neighbor who owns a voice-operated Mercedes. Pic also has fun with Dick’s vain attempts to find a job amid cutthroat competition, which end with him working as a greeter at a Costco-like retailer.

But the crux of the story — the fun, if you will — is that Dick and Jane end up going the way of Bonnie and Clyde, staging a few clumsy convenience-store robberies before perfecting their methods and moving on to bigger fish. Pic essentially becomes a parade of costumes at this point, which is fine, as both Carrey and Leoni are adept at physical comedy and perfectly comfortable donning all manner of ridiculous outfits from one holdup to the next.

While Segal played Dick as an affable bumbler, Carrey imbues him with an anarchic, irrepressibly show-offy streak from the start, which makes the character’s criminal progression both logical and weirdly sympathetic. Still, thesp is more or less playing himself here, and mileage will vary accordingly.

Leoni, however, is smooth and winning in a perf that ideally complements and sometimes even trumps Carrey’s shenanigans. Baldwin is commandingly corrupt as the sleazy ex-CEO who becomes Dick and Jane’s final target, hammering home the message that for sheer evil, petty theft has nothing on white-collar crime.

Helmer Dean Parisot (“Galaxy Quest”) juggles the various genre elements with a light but supple touch; even when the jokes don’t work, pic never overstays its welcome, clocking in at five minutes shorter than the original. Impudent political humor reaches its arguable nadir during the end credits, which extend a special thank-you to top executives from the likes of Enron, Worldcom, Arthur Andersen, Adelphia, Cendant and too many others.

Popular on Variety

Fun With Dick and Jane

Production: A Sony Pictures Entertainment release of a Columbia Pictures and Imagine Entertainment presentation of a Brian Grazer, JC 23 Entertainment and Bart/Palevsky production. Produced by Grazer, Jim Carrey. Executive producers, Peter Bart, Max Palevsky, Jane Bartelme.  Directed by Dean Parisot. Screenplay, Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller, based on a story by Gerald Gaiser, Apatow, Stoller.

Crew: Camera (Deluxe color, Panavision widescreen), Jerzy Zielinski; editor, Don Zimmerman; music, Theodore Shapiro; music supervisor, Randall Poster; production designer, Barry Robison; art directors, Troy Sizemore, Greg Hooper; set decorator, Garrett Lewis; costume designer, Julie Weiss; sound (Dolby Digital/DTS/SDDS), Lee Orloff; sound designer, Odin Benitez; supervising sound editor, Michael Hilkene; visual effects supervisor, Gray Marshall; stunt coordinators, Mickey Giacomazzi, Andy Armstrong; associate producer, Linda Fields; assistant director, David Sardi; casting, Debra Zane. Reviewed at the Avco Cinema, Westwood, Dec. 14, 2005. MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 90 MIN.

With: Dick Harper - Jim Carrey Jane Harper - Tea Leoni Jack McCallister - Alec Baldwin Frank Bascombe - Richard Jenkins Veronica Cleeman - Angie Harmon Garth - John Michael Higgins Joe - Richard Burgi Oz Peterson - Carloss Jacott Billy Harper - Aaron Michael Drozin Blanca - Gloria Garayua

More Film

  • Yao Chen in “Send Me to

    Cheng Cheng Films Nabs North American Rights to China's 'Send Me to the Clouds'

    New York-based distributor Cheng Cheng Films has acquired North American rights to first-time Chinese director Teng Congcong’s comedy drama “Send Me to the Clouds,” starring and produced by A-list actress Yao Chen. The company is planning a theatrical release for fall 2019. “Cheng Cheng has always championed films with strong female leads,” the firm said [...]

  • A White White Day

    Film Movement Brings ‘A White, White Day’ to the U.S. (EXCLUSIVE)

    OSLO  —  New-York based distributor Film Movement has acquired U.S. rights to critically-lauded Icelandic drama “A White, White Day,” today’s opening film at New Nordic Films in Haugesund. In a separate deal, sales agent New Europe Film Sales has closed French-speaking Canada with Funfilm and English-speaking Canada with Game Theory. Hlynur Pálmason’s sophomore pic, “A [...]

  • (from left) Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham)

    Korea Box Office: ‘Hobbs & Shaw’ Topples ‘Exit,’ ‘Roar to Victory’  

    Opening on Wednesday, “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw” debuted on top of the South Korean box office. Showing on some 1,311 screens nationwide, the UPI release earned $15.1 million from 2.03 million admissions over five days. That included the four-day National Liberation Day weekend. “The Battle: Roar to Victory” remained in second. The [...]

  • Tracy Morgan Netflix stand-up special

    Film News Roundup: Tracy Morgan Joins Eddie Murphy's 'Coming 2 America'

    In today’s film news roundup, Tracy Morgan and Michael Rooker book roles in major movies, and Gravitas buys “Christmas Break-In.” CASTINGS Tracy Morgan has signed on to appear in Eddie Murphy’s “Coming 2 America” sequel as the brother of Lesley Jones’ character. “Hustle & Flow” helmer Craig Brewer is directing the project with Murphy, Kevin [...]

  • Spider-Man Far From Home

    'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Gets Re-Release With New Scene

    Sony Pictures is re-releasing “Spider-Man: Far From Home” with a new action scene. Starting Aug. 29, a new extended cut, featuring four minutes of a never-before-seen action sequence, will be released in theaters in the United States and Canada. The film will also be available in IMAX and large formats in select locations. “Spider-Man: Far [...]

  • Matthew Modine

    Supporters Back Matthew Modine After Clumsy Joke at SAG-AFTRA Meeting

    More than 100 women, including Ellen Barkin and Allison Janney, have voiced support for Matthew Modine’s campaign for SAG-AFTRA presidency, following a joke at a SAG-AFTRA meeting that some decried as misogynist. With voting set to conclude on Aug. 28, the campaigns have featured vitriolic attacks between supporters of Modine, secretary-treasurer Jane Austin and incumbent [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Earns 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Award Nominations

    Variety has received 14 Folio: Eddie & Ozzie award nominations for its coverage of the entertainment industry over the past year. The awards gala, which will take place at The Hilton Midtown in New York City on Oct. 30, celebrates publications that have demonstrated impressive investigative journalism, in addition to thoughtful digital and print design. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content