Reviews

Fun With Dick And Jane

2

Movie titles lie to us all the time. Did Ralph Fiennes spend more than five minutes at the flowerbeds in The Constant Gardener? Nope. Was there even a moment's calm in Serenity? Hardly. Rarely, though, has a moniker been as misleading as Fun With Dick And Jane. There's Dick. And there's Jane. But the 'Fun' part got lost somewhere along this ill-fortuned remake's tortuous trek to the multiplex.

It aims to update the original's satire of cutthroat capitalism for the Enron era. Which sounds promising, in principle. In practice, though, it gets snared in the same compromise as the George Segal-starring 1977 version. The film's claws don't sink deep enough and its Yuppie couple are too shallow to give a damn about. Going on a crime crusade simply cos you've lost your plasma TV hardly inspires sympathy.

Only when our bourgeois Bonnie and Clyde plot payback against white-collar crook Alec Baldwin (auto-piloting his umpteenth fat cat) do you start to root for the characters. But by then, the horse has long bolted. Director Dean Parisot juggled acid humour with heart on the great Galaxy Quest, but can't keep either ball in the air here. Working from a surprisingly half-arsed script co-written by The 40-Year-Old Virgin's Judd Apatow, he's at a dead loss when it comes to what should be the main event: the Harpers' stealing spree. Picture Raising Arizona (cartoon slapstick) crossed with Stander (daft disguises), but with neither film's wit.

Meanwhile, Léoni is a disastrous step-in for Cameron Diaz: starchy and self-conscious where Cambo would've been the loose-limbed life'n'soul. Still, Carrey delivers, right? Well, like Dick he strains desperately to keep up appearances, but can't change the fact that it's all gone wrong. At least he mines a few gems, like a muzak-backed 'I Believe I Can Fly'. Yes, you can fly Jim, but not when such cack-handling of an intriguing idea clips your wings.

Verdict:

Another remake bites the dust. Jim Carrey may be funnier than George Segal, but this toothless satire still ends up comedically bankrupt.

Film Details