Reviewed by

Bud Carlson

The 2005 version of “Fun With Dick and Jane” is a new version of an old theme. The “old theme” being the odd ways that people will live their lives in order to get ahead in the world, and the extreme lengths to which people will go to protect their piece of the American dream. The “new version”, in the case of Dick and Jane, is that Dick is an up-and-coming Corporate Communications executive who ends up an innocent-insider casualty when his Fortune-500-type employer collapses in spectacular fashion. In one fell swoop, Dick goes from being a million-dollar stock-option star, to then being unemployable, and finally to a broke and desperate man who will do almost anything to hold on to his old place in society.  So what exactly will Dick do to maintain his piece of the pie? Well, that’s where the comedy begins, and the movie really earns its stripes. 

On one level, this movie isn’t really a comedy. Rather, it’s an angry look into the societal implications of corporate crime, the likes of which we saw in several cases in the early 2000’s. But I don’t think the movie does a particularly good job at being a social commentary, and I don’t believe it intended to be one. If it had, it would have focused on someone other than a VP-level six-figure executive. If you are interested in learning more about the corporate crimes of the early 2000’s, you should go out and find a copy of the excellent Enron documentary “The Smartest Guys in the Room.”  In other words, if you are looking for a good movie about a class-struggle, I’m afraid you are barking up the wrong tree with “Fun”. 

On another, more obvious level, this movie is an excellent comedic vehicle for Jim Carrey (who plays Dick) and Tea Leoni (who plays a wonderfully snarky Jane).  As

the couple spiral socio-economically downward, they are forced to go to greater and greater lengths to keep up appearances and to keep their American dream alive. (Some of those “greater and greater lengths” are very prominently featured in the advertisements for the movie as well as in the movie’s trailers, which is unfortunate … but if you liked the stuff in the trailer, there are plenty more scenes like them in the movie.) 

So if you are going to go and check out this movie (which I think you should do, particularly if you are a Jim Carrey fan), don’t go because you want to see an important social commentary about corporate crime and its effects on the people involved. Rather, go see this movie because Carrey’s character does some really funny things.  And that was good enough for me.


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