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Fun With Dick and Jane (November 27/05)

Once you get past the novelty of Fun With Dick and Jane's amusing premise - two upwardly mobile yuppies turn criminal in order to support their lavish lifestyle - there's very little here to keep the viewer engaged, a problem that's exacerbated by the unusually heavy-handed screenplay. In its verve to lampoon the distorted values of the middle class, the film throws out anything resembling plot or character development - with the end result a mildly engaging but mostly tedious exercise in monotony.

When Dick Harper (George Segal) loses his high-paying position within the aerospace industry, he - along with his wife, Jane (Jane Fonda), and son (Sean Frye) - attempts to adjust to a life on welfare and food stamps. But it soon becomes obvious that both Dick and Jane are not built for this sort of existence, and it's not long before the two are forced to engage in larcenous activities to maintain their opulent existence.

Fun With Dick and Jane has been directed by Ted Kotcheff (who would go on to helm the '80s comedy classic, Weekend at Bernie's), while David Giler, Jerry Belson, and Mordecai Richler (yes, that Mordecai Richler) are responsible for the film's script. Add to that the presence of charismatic stars Segal and Fonda, and it almost seems inexplicable that the movie plays out as poorly as it does. The sitcom-like structure (right down to the unnatural pauses after punchlines) certainly doesn't help matters, nor does the emphasis on long-winded speeches revolving around the pros and cons of consumerism.

Undeniably a product of its time, Fun With Dick and Jane just feels irrelevant in the 21st century; the movie holds up terribly, both in terms of its content and visuals, and it seems highly unlikely contemporary viewers will find much here worth embracing.

out of

About the DVD: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment presents Fun With Dick and Jane with a sharp letterboxed transfer, although the only extra is a trailer for the upcoming Jim Carrey remake (which just has to be better than this).