March 29, 2006 -- Jim Carrey has starred in some of the best movies made in the past few years, including “The Truman Show” and “The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” The problem is, these films didn't make any money. Fans of the frantic, gifted comic wanted to see the silly Jim Carrey, not the serious actor. Fans got their wish when Carrey starred as his silly old self in “Fun With Dick and Jane,” a remake of a 1977 film starring George Segal and Jane Fonda. The new version of the film has been updated to reflect the corporate scandals at Enron and other companies. The film raked in more than $100 million nationally.
Carrey stars as Dick Harper, an executive at Globodyne, a huge communications company. He finds himself suddenly promoted to vice president one day and tells his wife, Jane (played by Téa Leoni of “Spanglish”) that she can quit her job. Little does he know the company is about to go bankrupt and he is being set up by the company CEO, Jack McCallister (Alec Baldwin of “Elizabethtown”) and corporate financial officer, Frank Boscombe (Richard Jenkins of “North Country”) to take the fall for their corporate misdeeds which gutted the company financially.
The Harper family faces financial ruin as their savings and pensions are wiped out by the company's collapse. In desperation, they turn to crime, and then they hit upon the notion of getting even with McCallister, who, alone among the Globodyne executives, seems to have gotten away with his crimes and hundreds of millions of dollars of the company's money. The Harpers and Frank Bascombe hit upon a plan to get some of that money back.
The premise of the film is fairly promising, but the execution of the idea falls flat. The Harper's crime spree makes them seem less like victims and more like thugs. If they had skipped the armed robberies and found other ways to try to deal with their economic setbacks, I would have had more sympathy for them. After losing their jobs at Globodyne, the Harpers try other jobs. More could have been done with that part of the film. The amount of screen time devoted to the Harpers getting even with McCallister is very brief. More could have been done with that, too. The payoff is O.K., but it is too rushed and too brief. It almost seems like an afterthought. The acting is frenetic enough, particularly by Carrey, who almost carries the film by himself, but a smarter script would have given the film the extra kick it needed to get beyond the mediocre level. This film rates a C.
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