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Fun With Jim Carrey

'Dick and Jane' is a showcase, but not quite a classic

Jim Carrey uses his comic elasticity to full effect in “Fun with Dick and Jane,” a re-make of a 1970s comedy re-plotted and re-tooled to showcase him.

No one other than Carrey could play out the physical comedy in this movie the way he does. The movie is really built around him in scenes like a race with an ex-coworker trying to beat him to a job interview. But let’s back up. Carrey plays Dick Harper, a corporate hotshot at an Enron-like company who finds himself (and his family) on a downward spiral after that company collapses with him just promoted to the unfortunate role of chief spokesperson.

Carrey is a master of the manic gestures he employs in another set piece tailored for him, as he finally loses it after the very lawn of his house is repossessed -- taking to his neighbors’ lawns and a golf course to clip out pieces of sod to take it back.

Where he has to, Carrey shows the vulnerability he is capable of playing and has in movies like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “The Truman Show.” This comes in bits like one early in this movie where a cable news host puts his character on the spot, or his first sputtering attempts to actually rob people to bail himself out.

However, more so than other Carrey vehicles, “Fun With Dick and Jane” plays more like a succession of comedic bits strung together, without the plot and character progression found in “Liar Liar,” still his best flat-out comedy.

As a result the screenwriters and makers of this movie present an ending that is bit like the typical formulaic happy-ending wrap-up often found in movies that are simply showcases for a comedian or comic actor. And when the subject matter is large-scale corporate fraud and wiping out thousands of workers’ pensions, this movie plays with matters that are larger than its scope -- “Fun With Dick and Jane” doesn’t qualify as a real satire of these events. If only were as easy as this movie makes it seem to right such wrongs.




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