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Film review: Frantic 'Fun With Dick and Jane' isn't much fun

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 21 2005 12:00 a.m. MST

FUN WITH DICK AND JANE — * 1/2 — Jim Carrey, Tea Leoni, Alec Baldwin; rated PG-13 (slapstick violence, vulgarity, profanity, brief sex, brief drugs, brief nudity); Carmike 12 and Ritz 15 Theaters; Century Theatres 16; Cinemark 24 at Jordan Landing; Megaplex 12 at the Gateway; Megaplex 17 at Jordan Commons.

Jim Carrey has been getting subtler and more restrained with each performance, which makes it disappointing to see the earlier, wackier version of Jim Carrey return in "Fun With Dick and Jane."

Not that you can blame him for his manic, frantic performance. This strained, painful caper farce needs something to prove it really is a comedy, since it's short on actual jokes.

If anything, this updating of the 1977 comedy hit makes the original movie, which starred George Segal and Jane Fonda, look much better by comparison.

Carrey stars as Dick Harper, a corporate communications shill who loses his high-paying job when the multinational conglomerate he works for goes belly-up. (The film is obviously trying to make a statement about the Enron scandal.)

Meanwhile, Dick's wife, Jane (Tea Leoni), believes he is getting a huge promotion and has just quit her job. That leaves the couple without a steady income and a stack of bills that's only getting higher.

Worse, there's a possibility Dick could be indicted for corporate crimes he knew nothing about, and he can't find work. So in desperation, he turns to crime, beginning with a series of convenience store hold-ups. But when Jane joins him, their crimes get bigger and more elaborate — and may even give Dick a chance to get revenge on his former employer (Alec Baldwin).

What's so befuddling about this misfire is that it features an amusing premise, and the filmmakers — director Dean Parisot and screenwriters Judd Apatow, Nicholas Stoller and Peter Tolan — have been involved in some very funny film and television projects.

It doesn't help that the main characters are such unpleasant Yuppies, especially Carrey's career-driven Dick, who can't be troubled to get involved in parenting (the couple has a son who is woefully neglected).

And Leoni, who replaced the originally cast Cameron Diaz, doesn't seem enthused by the material. Not that you can blame her.

"Fun With Dick and Jane" is rated PG-13 for slapstick violence, crude and sexually suggestive humor, scattered use of strong profanity (including one usage of the so-called "R-rated" curse word), brief sexual contact, brief drug content (references), and brief nudity (a nude prop, used for laughs). Running time: 89 minutes.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com

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