If ever there was a ripe target for satire, it’d have to be the high-priced world of “corporate crime” perpetrated by skunks at companies such as Enron.
In this fanciful tale set in the year 2000, Dick Harper (Jim Carrey) is living the American dream, newly promoted at the flashy company Globodyne. He and his wife Jane (Tea Leoni) live in suburban comfort — until Globodyne collapses in a heap of corruption and scandal. Unable to find work, Dick and Jane turn to robbery to survive — until a chance meeting offers them a chance at getting even with Globodyne’s bad bosses.
Amusing yet a bit hollow, Fun With Dick and Jane starts with a keen wit and a genuine eye for the tragedy in companies that crumple up “the little guy” and leave him in the gutter when they’re through with him.
Carrey’s grinning Dick is all optimism-turned-sour, but his Ace Ventura-style gyrations seem a little out of place in the reality-based script. Leoni is surprisingly bland, only showing spark in a few scenes. Alec Baldwin nearly steals the show in his few scenes as the glad-handing blowhard chief executive of Globodyne.
As Dick and Jane follows the couple’s journey into the world of joblessness, it’s comedy with a bite. But once the couple turns to robbery, it becomes increasingly far-fetched, almost like another movie. And the movie seems unsure of its message.
For one thing, there’s never any real sense that Dick and his wife feel any remorse over their own robbery crimes (which apparently go completely unpunished). In a movie that pushes the notion of getting even with the bad guys, this just seems wonky. I’m not expecting a moral treatise, but a little consistency would be nice.
While Fun With Dick And Jane is an amusing time capsule of the Enron age, the great corporate scandal satire movie is still waiting to be made.
(Rated PG-13 for some violence and language.)