Some movies like "Fun with Dick & Jane" (1977) should never have been made in the first place. In the second place, the remake of "Fun with Dick & Jane" should never have been made either. The original "Fun with Dick & Jane" cast George Segal as a sacked aerospace executive who embarked on a crime spree with homemaker wife Jane Fonda to preserve their white-collar lifestyle in suburbia. The new Jim Carrey & Tea Leoni remake casts Carrey as a clueless Vice President of Communications of a World Com-type corporation. He loses his job after his greedy CEO bankrupts the company. Like the original protagonists, our hero and heroine resort to crime to keep up with the Jones. Neither as funny nor as amoral as its satirical predecessor, "Fun with Dick & Jane" the second time around combines low-brow slapstick with high-minded altruism. Fans of the elastic faced "Ace Ventura" comic may split their sides roaring at his knuckle-headed shenanigans, but virtually every joke in this tedious retread is as old and worn-out as Milton Berle's shoes. (Jewish comedian Milton Berle was to TV audiences of the 1950s what Jim Carrey is to contemporary audiences.) Carrey revives old routines that Berle recycled from his vaudeville days for early TV audiences. Two things make the "Dick & Jane" remake occasionally amusing. First, the writers have done an imaginative job of updating the plot's blue-collar crime premise. Second, our heroes' Hispanic housekeeper speaks with a hilarious lisp, so that every time she addresses Dick as 'Richard,' the way that she says 'Richard' sounds like 'retard.' Sadly, even this joke wears thin before long.
As "Fun with Dick & Jane" unfolds, we find protagonist Dick Harper (Jim Carrey of "Bruce Almighty") conducting tours at Globodyne, a mega-media corporation, until the big wigs upstairs decide to promote him to the prestigious position of corporate spin-doctor. In reality, sleazy CEO Jack McCallister (Alec Baldwyn looking like a dead ringer for Bernie Ebbers) hires Dick as a fall guy and dispatches him to appear on a nationally televised TV show to brag about Globodyne's projected profits. Unfortunately, Dick melts down during a hostile interview as revelations about Globodyne's scandalous business practices come to light. Earlier, our happily promoted protagonist had convinced wife Jane (Tea Leoni of "Bad Boys") to quit her thankless job at a travel agency so she can stay home with their young son Billy (Aaron Michael Drozin) and supervise the contractors installing their a hot tub in the backyard. Dick spends three months searching for a new job. During that nerve-wracking time, he watches unhappily as the landscapers roll up the front lawn like carpet, the power company shuts off their electricity, and the bank threatens to repossess their house. When Globodyne tanks, the Harpers lose everything, including their life savings. Briefly, Dick takes a humiliating job at a Walmart-type department store where he greets irate customers. Eventually, Dick and Jane turn in desperation to crime. They rob a Chinese restaurant wearing Bill & Hilary Clinton masks in a clear-cut rip-off of the Keanu Reeves & Patrick Swayze crime thriller "Point Break" (1991) where the bank robbers wore presidential masks. Meanwhile, Dick watches as his fellow Globodyne friends try crime as the same route and wind up behind bars. At mid-point, our amoral heroes decide that crime isn't the answer, so they go after Jack McCallister who landed everybody in dire straits in the beginning. "Fun with Dick & Jane" shifts gears suddenly from a slapstick dumb-show about idiotic amateur crooks to half-witted hucksters out to sting the biggest con artist of them all.
Unquestionably, Jim Carrey ranks as the funniest fellow alive. However, not even he can breathe enough life into the egregious gags in "Fun with Dick & Jane." The best that he can do is incidental stuff, like donning an electrical dog collar that stuns him when he tries to bark. Many of the slipshod pratfalls that he performs here look like deleted scenes from his better movies, and some predicaments appear positively tame compared with the 1977 original. In the first movie, George Segal got his pistol jammed in his pants at a drug store during his first stick-up. Meantime, the sympathetic druggist mistakenly sold him a stack of condoms, because the latter figured the former was too shy to ask for them and instead played a charades routine gesturing repeatedly at his own crotch. In the remake, Carrey brain-freezes himself at a convenience store slurping an ice-cold, slushy drink before a giant bald-headed cashier chases him off the premises when our hero refuses to pay up. The funniest thing about their criminal antics isn't their misguide machinations, but the midget-sized hatch-back of a car that they careen around in frantically during their jobs. Shun "Fun with Dick and Jane" unless you're really and truly desperate for a chuckle or two.
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