Fun with Dick and Jane Reviews
I really liked Jane Fonda and George Segal. Their charms and charisma make up for the weaknesses in the story. As good as they are, they don't quite save it.
When Dick (Segal) loses his job, he and his wife (Fonda) won't give up on their luxuries. Instead they take to a life of crime, stealing and robbing cars and banks.
Fun to a point, but it runs out of plot way too quickly.
Or not so. Carey wanted to remake this to make a point about how he did it tough when he was a kid, being pissed off and all about Enron and other corperate cowboys getting away with almost murder.
Fun with Dick and Jane, the Fonda/Segal, is the story of how Stagflation hit an upper-class family in the US. It is the story of how to abuse the welfare system (murdered by Clinton, or so I hear), steal, screw your boss, then get away with it. And it works. It works as it was written for the late 1970s when wives and houses were usually one and the same, domestic servants were more the norm, and the sociopolitieconomic situation works with the film. And because they get away with their criminial activity, it is a good film. If they had a 'change of heart' and the moral of the story was 'everyone has a good heart and would not steal from their boss', it would become a cr*p film.
It isn't perfect. It moves slowly. It looks rather dated. It's rather silly. If it took itself more seriously and made social commentary, it could have had a real impact. Instead it went for the cheap 'n' easy route of being liked rather than respected. Despite this, it works, and if you want to know/know a bit about the 70s, or LIVED there (like I would have liked to), then this film is quite informative about sociopolitiecononomics of the period.
Fun with Dick and Jane, the Leone/Carey version, is about how corperate fat-cats got the blame for a company's poor performance laid on a single spokesperson, embezzled company assets and screwed the employees in a time when the economy was dipping, and how this affected an upper-class family in the US. It shows the corruption of the US welfare system, stealing, taking jobs out of desperation like medical guinepigs, and how if you really try hard enough you can get money back from your boss, despite the government taking no action against him.
Fundimentally, the film is flawed. It is flawed for its minor stab towards the corrupted US Administration, making it appear a rather thoughtless inclusion (The Bushes and former Enron Chief Ken de Lay went back a long way, he was supposed to get Energy Portfolio in the Administration at one point) when, really, the government should have had a lot more to do with investigating the folding of the company Dick worked for than the film suggested. It is flawed for its dogged social commentary about illegal immigrants and lack of tackling of real issues to do with immigration, corruption, and man's place on earth. It is flawed for its cheesiness such as the son learning spanish. It is flawed for Tea Leone, whose acting is flaky at best. It is flawed because the audience fail to really care about Dick and the liveihood of his family, and at no point does it really seem he will wind up destitute, or worse, dead. And finally, that stupid dog...ugh, I hate dogs. In the original Dick and Jane, the dog shut up. I wish the dog in this version would. And the ending is a bore, that 'everyone gets a pension'. Woopdido.
The 2005 film was throughly disappointing in comparason to the 1977 version, of which I saw first. It may seem that the films contain the same elements- upper-class, losing work, stealing, happy endings, but really they paint a completly different reality and tell very different stories. Sadly, the Carey adaptation didn't work because it was thoughtlessly adapted. Had the original and message from the original been dissected on a deeper level rather than simply superficial changes slapped on willy-nilly til it resembled cross between a donkey and a frog, the finished product would have been far more furfilling.