24 June 2006 | DonFishies
Could have been funnier and stronger if the screenplay was written better
Jim Carrey has come a long way since his early days on In Living Color. He became a hit actor in the likes of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (a personal childhood favourite), The Mask and Dumb and Dumber. He tried hard for an Oscar nom, but always contended with winning Golden Globes. And for years now, he has basically been bouncing around dramas, comedies, and dramedies. So now, he has tackled a remake (of a comedy no less), and the results as per the last few years, are mixed at best.
Carrey is Dick, an employee at Globodyne (read: Enron) who is promoted just in time to help sail the company into oblivion on television. He tells his wife Jane (Tea Leoni) to leave her job only hours before hand, and upon returning stunning home, realizes that he may be in a bit of trouble. As the months go on, the pair's assets slowly begin to dwindle, and hope for continued survival begins to evaporate. So with nothing left to do, they turn to life of petty crime and hope for the best.
It is not an original concept at all, but Carrey and Leoni do a valiant job keeping this boat floating. While the film does have a few hilarious moments, the rest of it is bogged down by mere snicker-filled sequences or just scenes that are totally unfunny. It's not like these two actors are having any trouble being funny, it's that the material is not funny. Judd Apatow did wonders with The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but he fumbles here pretty hard with his writing partner Nicholas Stoller, who does not have nearly enough credits to his name. A parody on what happened at Enron was inevitable, but this just seems lackluster and barely thought out. Subplots are brought in, but barely resolved, and the key storyline just feels very weak by the end. It's not terrible, it just feels a tad bit incomplete.
The sorry thing about the entire film is the fact that much of it just feels like an extended montage with little payoff. It is only ninety minutes long, so it feels like a lot was trimmed down or cut right out. But the film suffers as a result. If it was longer, it undoubtedly could have had more potential for more funny moments, and as a whole, feel more complete.
While Carrey and Leoni do their best, it's Leoni who gives a stronger performance. Yes, Carrey is right at home with his zany character, and totally overshadows Leoni in every single aspect. But he just lacks that integral element of human comedy here, that made him so famous in the first place. It's unfortunate, and makes me wonder if the old Carrey will ever return, or if we'll have to contend with semi-funny Carrey for the rest of his career. Leoni is much better, and feels more in tune with what she's doing.
Even more unfortunate is the wasted supporting cast does very little. Alec Baldwin as the sleazy CEO Jack McCallister is sparingly unfunny, as is Richard Jenkins as the right hand man Frank Bascombe, who spends most of the movie drunk and not doing anything (besides setting up for the finale). The rest of the cast has little to no screen time, or are simply silly supporting characters that just feel like excess waste in the entire scheme of things.
For all of it's faults, the film is a worth while watch. As said, I did laugh at some of it. A bit of work on the screenplay would have benefited everyone here. Just do not go in expecting a comedy classic with Jim Carrey. If so, you will be sadly disappointed.