Dick Harper (Jim Carrey) is a spokesman for the Globodyne Corporation in the year 2000. The dot com company's business is booming and Harper himself is climbing up the corporate ladder. He hopes to be named VP soon enough, which would allow his wife Jane (Téa Leoni) to become a stay-at-home mom and take care of their son full-time. When he is invited to a dinner at CEO Jack McCallister's (Alec Baldwin) swanky seaside home he believes he will be named VP. Instead, he is asked to discuss the financial health of the company on a national television program. As Dick is doing so, word leaks out that McCallister has sold his stock and fled with over 400 million in bonds. His action has left all Globodyne employees jobless and worse, without any sort of pension.
Masters in disguise.
Down but not out, Dick rationalizes that since he hasn't gotten anywhere following the rules, he might as well turn to a life of crime in order to pay the bills. Wife Jane, also hopeless and depressed, partners with her husband, and they go on a crime spree, and find themselves enjoying their new life as desperados far more than they expected.
I didn't hate 'Fun with Dick and Jane' but it wasn't very memorable. Instead, it just sort of sits up there on the screen, providing a few laughs courtesy of some sharp writing and Carrey's natural charisma, with nothing too inventive or groundbreaking to offer otherwise. Still, it plays better than the bulk of comedy remakes ('The Stepford Wives', 'The Honeymooners', etc.) that have been released in the remake flurry that has overtaken Hollywood in the past few years.
Director Dean Parisot who helmed the inventively humorous 'Galaxy Quest' in 1999, based on a script by Judd Apatow ('The 40 Year Old Virgin') and Nicholas Stoller (TV's "Strangers with Candy") takes a bland sitcom-level approach to filming the material for the most part. One scene that does stand out however is one in which the criminal duo attempt to rob an oddities store bathed in a neon light that makes Leoni's hair look bleached white and Carrey's teeth blinding in their effervescence.
Despite this high point, Parisot seems to be coasting by here, showing far less verve and creativity than he put on display in the aforementioned Tim Allen vehicle. He is aided by a screenplay that features a few laugh-out-loud sight gags, notable among them a scene in which Dick goes out at the dead of night to reclaim the Kentucky Bluegrass lawn he had taken from him. Overall, Parisot's directing leaves something to be desired as he certainly could have brought more life to certain portions of the film by quickening the pace of what turns out to be an already succinct motion picture.
In the performances department, Jim Carrey is up to his old tricks here. He gets to mug incessantly for the camera and utilize his elastic face to portray all sorts of off-the-wall facial expressions. He is an old pro at such things and thus most of what he does works. When it doesn't though, the silence is deafening as Carrey tends to go a little overboard at times in his never-ending quest for a laugh. As his partner in crime, Téa Leoni is fine but one cannot help but wonder what could have been, had the original casting of Cameron Diaz come to fruition. Leoni lacks the comedic timing to bring much to the proceedings. Alec Baldwin plays his usual slimy self as the ethically challenged Jack McCallister.
'Fun with Dick and Jane' provides laughs but at the same time, one gets a distinct sense this might have been a much better film, had the casting been different and the filmmakers managed to invest a little more creativity into the plot.