Recently I asked a knowledgeable friend about employment prospects in the increasingly scorched-earth field of American print media, and he remarked, with rather terrifying succinctness, ‘There are no jobs.’ His words come to mind here when ruined suburbanite Jane (Téa Leoni) arrives at the same conclusion.‘There is no more work,’ she declares, perhaps coining a new maxim for Bushlandia. A screwball paean to the downsized, the outsourced, the burn-unit casualties of corporate flame-out, this serviceable remake of the 1977 George Segal-Jane Fonda comedy gives go-getter Dick (Jim Carrey) a few halcyon hours as new VP of communications at mega-something Globodyne before the company’s Enron-style collapse pulverises his job, savings and pension. Dick lines up for a urine test at Cost Mart, and a similarly brief stint as a migrant labourer gets him deported, while Jane harms herself and others as novice aerobics instructor and cosmetic guinea pig. Soon enough the couple turn to non-corporate crime, robbing banks and hatching a convoluted scheme to relieve the unscathed Globodyne honcho (Alec Baldwin) of $400 million.
As is often the case even with Jim Carrey films not produced by Jim Carrey, ‘Fun with Dick and Jane’ often becomes ‘Fun with Jim and More Jim’, which is admittedly fabulous (see Dick flaying ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ in an elevator or his gloriously reiterative hysteria when faced with indictment) but tends to sideline the gifted comedienne Leoni. At its best, though, the movie is a borderline cathartic salute to a burgeoning pink-slip subculture of dedicated office drones forced into Starbucks hold-ups, cockfight promotion, pot cultivation and other twenty-first century variations on subsistence farming.