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Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
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Amusing but lacking the sharp edges that I was hoping for
Dick and Jane Harper are happy and very well off; they have a dog, a son, a great house and Dick has a high-powered job as an aerospace company executive. However when the company hits a bumpy patch, Dick is laid off and very quickly the family is running up more debt than they can handle. Dick keeps trying to find work and even Jane leaves the family home to try and get a regular job type job. However things do not go that well and, as their possessions start to get repossessed, they get increasingly desperate.
Recently the subject of a remake (which I never bothered to see) this comedy is a sort of satire on the American dream and the attitudes of big business. Or at least that is what others have said. Personally I think it has a vague swipe at this but mainly it just settles for being a gentle caper that draws laughs from the unlikely descent of the middle classes into crime. It isn't anywhere near as sharp or caustic as I would have liked it to be but it flows along cheerily enough and entertained me reasonably well. Big laughs are few and far between but it is nicely comic for the most part.
Given the light material, I thought this was mostly down to the lead pair working with it well. Segal is reasonably good but his strength is in his chemistry with Fonda. She is good and has a nice comic touch. Support is generally solid if unspectacular with turns from Mcahon, Garcia and others but generally the film is carried by the leads. Direction feels a little dated now as the film has a very 1970's look and, without a sharp edge, it doesn't feel as relevant as it should do.
Overall this is a comic little film that is amusing and works thanks to easy performances by the lead pair. I would have preferred it to have had a much sharper edge to have blended satire with the comedy but it was still an entertaining little film albeit one that won't stick in my mind or have me coming back for repeat viewings.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful.
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